Solid Organ Transplant Recipients Are At Increased Risk of Cancer Mortality

Sergio A. Acuna, MD Graduate Student at St. Michael's Hospital and IHPME University of Toronto

Dr.  Sergio Acuna Interview with:
Sergio A. Acuna, MD
Graduate Student at St. Michael’s Hospital and IHPME
University of Toronto

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Acuna: Solid organ transplant recipients are known to be at greater risk of developing cancers compared to the general population; however, because they are also at high increased risk of mortality from non-cancer causes, the risk of cancer morality in this population is unclear. As previous studies on this topic have reported disparate findings, the cancer mortality risk in this population remained uncertain.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Acuna: Our study provides conclusive evidence that solid organ transplant recipients are at increased risk of cancer mortality. Our findings demonstrate that solid organ transplant recipients are at increased risk of cancer death compared to the general population regardless of age, transplanted organ, and year of transplantation, and indicate cancer is a substantial cause of death in this population.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Acuna: We suggest that cancer screening strategies be more closely targeted to a patient’s history and specific cancer risk. Further, since the risk of death from cancer is very high for this population, we also recommend that health care providers counsel these patients to take every possible precaution to reduce their risk, including limiting sun exposure, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, improving their diet, and increasing their physical activity.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Acuna: This report provides an excellent opportunity for a call for action to evaluate cancer care in transplant recipients and provides an evidence base on which to build interventions to improve cancer care in this population. Future research is needed to understand the differences in cancer outcomes in transplant recipients compared to non-transplant cancer patients and to define the role of immunosuppression reduction. Strategies for early cancer detection and to reduce the toxicity of cancer treatment while maintaining graft function are also needed.


Acuna SA, Fernandes KA, Daly C, et al. Cancer Mortality Among Recipients of Solid-Organ Transplantation in Ontario, Canada.JAMA Oncol. Published online January 07, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.5137.

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Dr. Sergio A. Acuna (2016). Solid Organ Transplant Recipients Are At Increased Risk of Cancer Mortality 

Last Updated on January 11, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD