Risk of myeloid neoplasms after solid organ transplantation

L. M. Morton*, T. M. Gibson, C. A. Clarke, C. F. Lynch, L. A. Anderson, R. Pfeiffer, O. Landgren, D. D. Weisenburger, E. A. Engels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Solid organ transplant recipients have elevated cancer risks, owing in part to pharmacologic immunosuppression. However, little is known about risks for hematologic malignancies of myeloid origin. We linked the US Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients with 15 population-based cancer registries to ascertain cancer occurrence among 207 859 solid organ transplants (1987-2009). Solid organ transplant recipients had a significantly elevated risk for myeloid neoplasms, with standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of 4.6 (95% confidence interval 3.8-5.6; N=101) for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), 2.7 (2.2-3.2; N=125) for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 2.3 (1.6-3.2; N=36) for chronic myeloid leukemia and 7.2 (5.4-9.3; N=57) for polycythemia vera. SIRs were highest among younger individuals and varied by time since transplantation and organ type (Poisson regression P<0.05 for all comparisons). Azathioprine for initial maintenance immunosuppression increased risk for MDS (P=0.0002) and AML (2-5 years after transplantation, P=0.0163). Overall survival following AML/MDS among transplant recipients was inferior to that of similar patients reported to US cancer registries (log-rank P<0.0001). Our novel finding of increased risks for specific myeloid neoplasms after solid organ transplantation supports a role for immune dysfunction in myeloid neoplasm etiology. The increased risks and inferior survival should heighten clinician awareness of myeloid neoplasms during follow-up of transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2317-2323
Number of pages7
Early online date14 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


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