Liver transplant patients often develop colon cancer — 3 study insights

Researchers examined cancer rates of organ transplant recipients, finding elevated colorectal cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma rates, according to a study presented at ACG 2018, Oct. 5-10 in Philadelphia.

Maywood, Ill.-based Loyola Medicine's Ayokunle Abegunde, MD, led a study examining records for 124,399 liver, heart and lung transplant patients. Sixty-seven percent of patients were liver transplant recipients, 22 percent were heart transplant recipients and 11 percent were lung transplant recipients.

What you should know:

1. Heart transplant patients were most at risk for developing cancer. About 7.4 percent of heart transplant patients developed cancer, compared to 6.3 percent of both lung and liver transplant patients.

2. Liver transplant patients were more likely to develop colon cancer as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

3. Heart and lung transplant patients were more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer.

Dr. Abegunde said, "The results suggest that liver transplant patients may benefit from more frequent colonoscopy screenings for colon cancer and heart and lung transplant patients may benefit from more active screening for skin cancer."

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