Characteristics and outcomes of lung cancer in solid organ transplant recipients

Lung Cancer

Chen LN, et al. Lung Cancer 2020.


OBJECTIVES: Lung cancer is the third most common malignancy that develops in patients following solid organ transplantation and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the general population. The aims of this study are to examine the characteristics of patients who developed lung cancer following solid organ transplantation at our institution and to compare their outcomes to those of lung cancer patients without a history of transplant.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a single-institution retrospective study of 44 solid organ transplant recipients who developed lung cancer and compared their characteristics to a cohort of 74 lung cancer patients without a history of transplant. We performed propensity score weighted analyses to compare outcomes between the two groups, including a cox proportional hazards model of overall survival.

RESULTS: 52 % of post-transplant patients who developed lung cancer were diagnosed with stage III or IV disease. In the propensity score weighted analysis that accounted for age at diagnosis, sex, lung cancer stage at diagnosis, Charlson comorbidity index score, and ECOG performance score, post-transplant patients were more likely to have squamous cell histology (p < 0.01) and had worse overall survival compared to the non-transplant cohort (HR = 1.88, 95 % CI 1.13-3.12, p = 0.02). The difference in survival remained significant after accounting for differences in lung cancer histology and treatment (HR = 2.40, 95 % CI 1.27-3.78, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: When compared to non-transplant patients with lung cancer, post-transplant patients have worse overall survival after accounting for differences in age, sex, lung cancer stage, comorbidities, and performance status. This survival difference is not solely attributable to differences in tumor histology and treatments received. This may suggest that post-transplant malignancies are more aggressive and difficult to treat.