De Novo Head and Neck Cancer After Liver Transplant With Antibody-Based Immunosuppression Induction

R. C. Graham, J. S. Mella, R. S. Mangus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Powerful antibody-based immunosuppression induction is now used routinely during organ transplantation and may place patients at even higher risk of post-transplant cancer. Materials and methods: Incidence of de novo head and neck cancer was extracted from the records of 1685 consecutive adult deceased donor liver transplant recipients with a minimum 1-year follow-up from 2001 to 2015. There were 121 patients positively identified as having developed de novo head and neck cancer post–liver transplant. Records of these patients were analyzed to determine demographics, history of cancer pre–liver transplant, de novo cancer type and location, treatment modalities, and alcohol and tobacco exposure. Results: Of the 121 patients who developed cancer of the head and neck (7%), there were 103 cutaneous (6%) and 25 noncutaneous (1%). For noncutaneous cancers, factors associated with increased risk of cancer included alcohol abuse (P <.001), any smoking history (P =.05), and increasing exposure to tobacco (P <.01). Ten-year Cox regression patient survival demonstrates a survival disadvantage for patients who develop noncutaneous cancer (P =.06) but a survival advantage for patients who develop cutaneous cancer (P <.01). Conclusions: The incidence and pattern of head and neck cancer in this population of liver transplant recipients was similar to those published previously, suggesting that induction immunosuppression does not increase risk of these types of cancers. Long-term survival was worse for patients with noncutaneous cancers, but better for those with cutaneous cancers, though the reason is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3661-3666
Number of pages6
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

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