A study carried out by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and involving almost 18,000 young people has shown that children who undergo organ transplantation are more exposed to the risk of cancer than the rest of the population. However, the study emphasises the fact that the individual risk of cancer remains very low and reminds us that the benefits of transplantation outweigh many of the risks described.
Scientists have observed that 71% of the cancers developed by these children are Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The study revealed that the risk of developing this form of cancer was 19 times greater than in the general population. The risk of leukaemia was found to be four times higher in paediatric transplant recipients. It should also be noted that the risk of developing other cancers such as multiple myeloma or liver or kidney cancer was also higher.
These factors appear to be attributable to two factors: immunosuppressant treatments needed to prevent organ rejection and a weak immune system, which exposes recipients to risks of viral infection essentially via the Epstein-Barr virus. The virus can be transmitted directly by the new organ. It can also be transmitted by a person who is in contact with the virus.
Medical Xpress, Gia Miller (26/04/2017)