Transplant recipients have an elevated risk for many types of cancer, in large part due to the requirement for ongoing immunosuppressive therapy after transplantation.
A study in the May 2017 issue of Pediatrics, "Cancer Risk after Pediatric Solid Organ Transplantation," (published online April 26), examined cancer rates in 17,958 children who received solid organ transplants.
Researchers found that these children had an increased risk of developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, about 200 times higher than the general population.
The authors suggest that the increase in cancer rates is most likely due to the combination of immunosuppression and Epstein-Barr virus infection, which in some instances may be directly transmitted from the transplanted organ. The highest risk of developing cancer appears to occur in the first year after the transplant takes place.
The authors state this study underscores potential cancer prevention opportunities if Epstein-Barr virus infection can be effectively prevented or controlled in pediatric transplant recipients.