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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2005 Oct;56(1):71-85.

Cancer incidence after immunosuppressive treatment following kidney transplantation.

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Department of Nephrology, Hospital 12 de Octubre, Avenida de Cordoba s/n, 28041 Madrid, Spain.


Cancer incidence is increased in renal transplant recipients due to immunosuppressant treatment that should be maintained to prevent and treat acute rejection. Use of new and very potent immunosuppressants has made it possible to reduce acute rejection incidence and improve renal graft survival, although increase of infections and post-transplant neoplasms have become clearer. On the other hand, renal transplant candidates who remain on dialysis have a greater prevalence of neoplasms than the age-matched general population, either because the neoplasm was the cause of their renal failure (multiple myeloma or kidney or urinary tract cancers) or because their renal disease entails a risk for cancer development (acquired cystic disease or analgesic nephropathy). Practically, all de novo neoplasms have a greater incidence in renal transplant patients. Cutaneous neoplasms are the most prevalent in renal transplant recipients and their incidence increases with transplant time. Post-transplant lymphoproliferative diseases are more frequent in patients who receive greater immunosuppression (antithymocyte/antilymphocyte globulin or OKT3) or are infected de novo by Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) through the transplanted kidney. Kaposi's sarcoma has a high incidence in the renal transplanted population, does not appear in the general population, and is related with Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV-8) infections. The incidence of tumors in non-functioning native kidneys is especially high in renal transplant due to the presence of acquired cystic disease or analgesic nephropathy. Gold standards of post-transplant de novo renal neoplasm prevention are modulating immunosuppression and avoiding exposure to sunlight and to different oncogenic viruses (EBV, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B and C viruses).

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