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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages e7-e13
Original Article

Risk Factors and Outcomes for the Development of Malignancy in Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Recipients

Michael J Metcalfe,1 Demetrios J Kutsogiannis,2 Kathy Jackson,2 Antigone Oreopoulous,2 John Mullen,1 Denis Modry,1 Justin Weinkauf,2 Dale C Lien,2 and Ken C Stewart1

1Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Many factors may limit survival from lung and heart-lung transplantation, including malignancy.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate factors associated with the development of malignancy following transplantation and its effect on survival by retrospectively reviewing a population of lung transplant recipients.

METHODS: Data from 342 consecutive lung transplant patients were collected. Results were analyzed by fitting variables into a multivariate logistic regression model predicting the development of post-transplant malignancies. Covariates were selected based on crude associations that reached a level of significance at P≤0.10. Length of survival was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method.

RESULTS: Fifty-eight subjects developed post-transplant malignancies, which were the cause of death of 14 patients. Twenty-one patients had a pretransplant malignancy, of whom six developed a malignancy post-transplant – of these, two were fatal recurrences. No risk factors were significantly associated with all forms of post-transplant malignancy. When adjusted for age at transplantation and donor smoking history, Epstein-Barr virus seropositivity at the time of transplant was significantly associated with a reduced risk of a post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (OR 0.17; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.59). The median survival time in individuals without a post-transplant malignancy was significantly shorter than in those with a post-transplant malignancy (P=0.018 Wilcoxon [Breslow]). This may be secondary to the length of time required to develop malignancy and the fact that not all malignancies that developed were fatal. The median time to develop malignancy was greater than two years. In addition, the 14 patients who died as a result of their malignancy had a significantly shorter survival time than the 44 who died because of nonmalignant causes (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Malignancy was not associated with an overall decrease in survival time when compared with those who did not develop a malignancy. Risk factors specific for the development of malignancies remain difficult to specify.