Incidental diagnosis of gastric cancer in transplant recipients improves patient survival

Academic Article


  • Background. Gastric cancer in the United States is often diagnosed at advanced stages, resulting in dismal outcomes. In the immunosuppressed transplant recipient population, little is known about the clinical staging and outcome of these compromised patients. Methods. All US cases reported to the Israel Penn International Transplant Tumor Registry were retrospectively examined for patient demographics, immunosuppressive therapy, tumor characteristics, therapeutic modalities, and mortality. Statistical analysis was performed with Students t test, chi-square analysis, and log-rank analysis by the method of Kaplan-Meier. Results. Gastric cancer was identified in 34 recipients: 28 (82%) were male; 24 (71%) were white. Mean age at diagnosis was 58 ± 11 years. Twenty-four (71%) patients received kidney transplants, 7 (21%) received heart transplants, and 3 (9%) received liver transplants. Fifty percent received induction therapy, whereas 94 % were maintained on calcineurin inhibitors and corticosteroids. Thirty-five percent of patients were diagnosed during evaluation for gastrointestinal symptoms, with the remaining cases discovered incidentally during endoscopy (53 %) or during computed tomography (12 %) performed for other reasons. Stage varied at presentation as follows: stage I (n = 6), stage II (n = 11), stage III (n = 13), and stage IV (n = 4). Incidental diagnoses resulted in a lower stage malignancy (P < .001) and greater 1-year and 5-year survivals (P < .05) compared with those patients whose were diagnosed after being evaluated of gastrointestinal symptoms. Conclusion. In the United States, because gastric cancer in the transplant recipient is frequently identified at an earlier stage (50 % were stages I and II) than in the general population, survivals are equivalent despite continued administration of immunosuppression. This early identification may be attributed to more frequent presymptom diagnosis and staging, resulting from incidental detection of these malignancies during posttransplant upper endoscopy or computed tomography. Early detection has resulted in a 29% 5-year survival for the entire transplant recipient group compared with a 5 % to 15 % 5-year survival in the general population.
  • Published In

  • Surgery  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 9798920
  • Author List

  • Buell JF; Husted T; Hanaway MJ; Peddi VR; Trofe J; Gross TG; Beebe TM; First MR; Woodle ES
  • Start Page

  • 754
  • End Page

  • 760
  • Volume

  • 132
  • Issue

  • 4