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Lip Cancer Risk Up for Some Solid Organ Transplant Recipients

Cancer risk up with high mean daily dose of azathioprine, longer duration of immunosupression

TUESDAY, May 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For solid organ transplant recipients, azathioprine dose and duration of immunosuppression are associated with increased risk of lip cancer, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Renhua Na, Ph.D., from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues examined the correlation between the type, dose, and duration of iatrogenic immunosuppression and lip cancer. Data were included from a population-based cohort of all 4,141 adult liver, heart, and lung transplant recipients in Australia from 1984 to 2006. Longitudinal data were abstracted from medical records, and incident lip cancer (58 cases) and deaths (1,434 cases) were ascertained by linkage with national registries.

The researchers observed an increase in the risk of lip cancer with high mean daily dose of azathioprine (hazard ratio [HR], 2.28), longer immunosuppression duration (HR, 9.86), increasing year of age at transplantation (HR, 1.14), earlier era of transplantation (HR, 8.73), and smoking history (HR, 2.71).

“Higher doses of azathioprine increase lip cancer risk, with implications for managing immunosuppressed populations and our understanding of the relationship between solar ultraviolet radiation and lip cancer,” the authors write.

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