Research Papers:

Gender differences in cancer risk after kidney transplantation

Anna Buxeda, Dolores Redondo-Pachón, María José Pérez-Sáez, Álvaro Bartolomé, Marisa Mir, Ana Pascual-Dapena, Anna Sans, Xavier Duran, Marta Crespo and Julio Pascual _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:3114-3128. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26859

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Anna Buxeda1, Dolores Redondo-Pachón1, María José Pérez-Sáez1, Álvaro Bartolomé2,3, Marisa Mir1, Ana Pascual-Dapena2,3, Anna Sans2,3, Xavier Duran4, Marta Crespo1,2 and Julio Pascual1,2

1Department of Nephrology, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain

2Department of Medicine, University Autonoma Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

3Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, University Pompeu-Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

4Methodology and Biostatistics Support Unit, Institute Hospital del Mar for Medical Research (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence to:

Julio Pascual, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer; immunosuppression; kidney transplant; gender; risk factor

Received: November 22, 2018     Accepted: March 23, 2019     Published: May 03, 2019


Kidney transplant (KT) recipients are at greater risk of developing some cancers than the general population. Moreover, cancer is the only cause of death that is currently increasing after kidney transplantation. We analyzed incidence, risk factors and characteristics of post-transplant malignancies (solid organ tumors and lymphoproliferative disorders) at our center in 925 KT recipients (1979-2014). Sex differences were particularly assessed.

One hundred and eight patients (11.7%) developed solid organ tumors (76.9%) or lymphoma (23.1%). Twenty-one percent of patients who reached 20 years after KT developed cancer, with a median post-KT time to diagnosis of 7.4 years. Most common solid organs affected were lung (30.1%), prostate (10.8%), bladder (9.6%), and native kidney (7.2%). When analyzing standardized incidence ratios (SIR) by gender compared to the general population, relative risk was increased in women (SIR = 1.81; 95%CI, 1.28–2.45) but not significantly increased in men (SIR = 1.22; 0.95–2.52). Regarding specific types, gynecological (SIR = 11.6; 4.2–22.7) and lung (SIR = 10.0; 4.3–18.2) in women, and bladder (SIR = 16.3; 5.9–32.1) in men were the most affected locations. Thymoglobulin, a polyclonal antibody that has been used as an immunosuppressive agent in kidney transplantation over the last decades, was a significant risk factor for developing cancer in adjusted regression analysis [IRR = 1.62, 1.02–2.57; p = 0.041], and was associated with lower patient survival.

Compared with the general population, the incidence of post-KT non-skin cancer is almost two-fold higher in women but not significantly higher in men. Lung is the most common solid organ affected. Thymoglobulin induction therapy is associated with a greater risk.

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