Assessment of kidney transplant suitability for patients with prior cancers: is it time for a rethink?

Wai H. Lim, Eric Au, Anoushka Krishnan, Germaine Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Web of Science)


Kidney transplant recipients have up to a 100-fold greater risk of incident cancer compared with the age/sex-matched general population, attributed largely to chronic immunosuppression. In patients with a prior history of treated cancers, the type, stage and the potential for cancer recurrence post-transplant of prior cancers are important factors when determining transplant suitability. Consequently, one of the predicaments facing transplant clinicians is to determine whether patients with prior cancers are eligible for transplantation, balancing between the accelerated risk of death on dialysis, the projected survival benefit and quality of life gains with transplantation, and the premature mortality associated with the potential risk of cancer recurrence post-transplant. The guidelines informing transplant eligibility or screening and preventive strategies against cancer recurrence for patients with prior cancers are inconsistent, underpinned by uncertain evidence on the estimates of the incidence of cancer recurrence and the lack of stage-specific outcomes data, particularly among those with multiple myeloma or immune-driven malignancies such as melanomas. With the advent of newer anti-cancer treatment options, it is unclear whether the current guidelines for those with prior cancers remain appropriate. This review will summarize the uncertainties of evidence informing the current recommendations regarding transplant eligibility of patients with prior cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1240
Number of pages18
JournalTransplant International
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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