3 years ago

Improving cancer‐specific outcomes in solid organ transplant recipients: Where to begin?

Jean L. Koff, Edmund K. Waller


In an article published in this issue of Cancer, D'Arcy et al link the incidence of cancer among recipients of solid organ transplantation (SOT) in the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients with data from regional and statewide cancer registries to examine cancer‐specific mortality for common malignancies in SOT recipients. This analysis helps to illuminate the role of immune surveillance across a broad range of malignancies and compares the incidence of cancers due to virally mediated oncogenesis (lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the aerodigestive epithelium, and hepatitis‐induced liver cancer) with the incidence of other malignancies. The authors’ central finding is that cancer‐specific mortality is significantly increased in SOT recipients in comparison with nontransplant recipients for multiple cancers, and the increased cancer incidence is not limited to the effects of viral oncogenesis. The authors document a significant increase in common epithelial malignancies that are currently treated with immune checkpoint antibodies, including melanoma, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, cancers of the oral cavity/pharynx, kidney cancer, and lung cancer, and this supports the hypothesis that post‐SOT immunosuppression affects immune surveillance in these cancers. Provocatively, the authors also document increases in the incidence and mortality of cancers not typically responsive to immune checkpoint therapies, including breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. The findings of D'Arcy et al suggest that immune surveillance controls oncogenesis and tumor progression in a broad range of malignancies and that breast cancer and pancreatic cancer could be sensitive to drugs targeting immune surveillance pathways other than those treated with currently Food and Drug Administration–approved antibodies to CTLA4 and PD‐1/PD‐L1.

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