Low recurrence of preexisting extrahepatic malignancies after liver transplantation

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The incidence of de novo malignancies is increased in organ transplant recipients, and patients with hepatic carcinomas are at high risk for tumor recurrence after liver transplantation. Data about recurrent cancer after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in patients with a history of nonhepatic malignancy are very limited. We retrospectively analyzed data from 606 adult OLT recipients and identified 37 patients (6.1%) with a preexisting extrahepatic malignancy. In the same group, 43 patients (7.0%) developed de novo cancer. Preexisting malignancies included 26 solid tumors and 11 hematological malignancies, including 7 patients with Budd-Chiari syndrome due to myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs). Patients had been selected for OLT because of the expected good prognosis of their preexisting malignancy. Except for 3 patients, recipients were tumor-free at OLT. The median interval from tumor diagnosis to OLT was 44 months (range, <1-321). After a median follow-up of 66 months post transplantation (range, 4-131), all but 1 recipient with incidental colon carcinoma were free of recurrence. No patient with MPD showed leukemic transformation, whereas a patient with neurofibromatosis experienced growth of skin fibromas. Our data and an included review of published OLT recipients with preexisting malignancies have enabled us to show that recurrence rates are comparable for nontransplanted patients and renal-transplant recipients. In conclusion, cancer recurrence is low if OLT recipients are carefully selected. Therefore, previous extrahepatic malignancy should not be considered a contraindication for OLT per se, but the oncologic/hematologic prognosis should be considered, particularly with respect to the current 5-year survival rate of OLT. Liver Transpl, 2008. © 2008 AASLD

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