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Transplant Patients May Face Brain Tumor Risk (Reuters) In rare cases, patients who have had organ transplants may be more likely to develop a certain type of brain tumor, according to a study by Pittsburgh researchers. - Nov 09 5:23 PM ET

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 11/09/2001

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Friday November 9 5:23 PM ET "Transplant Patients May Face Brain Tumor Risk"

Transplant Patients May Face Brain Tumor Risk

By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In rare cases, patients who have had organ transplants may be more likely to develop a certain type of brain tumor, according to a study by Pittsburgh researchers.

Though transplant recipients face a 100-fold increased risk of developing cancer, Dr. David Schiff from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and colleagues note, the brain cancers--known as gliomas--had not previously been considered a complication of organ transplantation.

The researchers reviewed information from three academic medical centers to identify transplant patients with glioma. They found 6 cases in approximately 6,700 patients who had transplants at the centers between February 1991 and February 2001.

Three patients had kidney transplants, one had a heart transplant, one a lung transplant and one a liver transplant. All were receiving long-term immunosuppression at about the time they were diagnosed with glioma.

This immune-suppressing treatment is one of the likeliest reasons behind the development of gliomas in these patients, the authors suggest in their report in the October 23rd issue of Neurology.

"We cannot exclude the possibility that this association between glioma and organ transplantation is coincidental," they write. "Our ongoing review of brain tumors in the Cincinnati Tumor Transplant Registry may further elucidate this issue."

The findings are important, Schiff told Reuters Health, because doctors often assume that any new brain tumor in a transplant patient is caused by lymphoma, a blood cancer known to be common in these patients.

"Our report highlights that it's not safe to assume all brain tumors are lymphoma," Schiff said. Rather, he added, these tumors should be biopsied so doctors can determine what type they are and tailor treatment appropriately.

SOURCE: Neurology 2001;57:1486-1488.

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