That aggressive surgical treatment of lung cancer (LC) is justified by stage-based outcome in immunosuppressed solid organ transplant recipients.
Lung cancer developed in 15 patients (0.28%) among a solid organ transplant recipient population of 5400 accrued at our institution over a 25-year period.
Main Outcome Measures
Smoking prevalence, subtypes and stages of LC represented, operative morbidity, and survival.
The mean time from transplantation to the diagnosis of LC was 76 months (range, 9-192 months). Eight patients received kidneys; 3, lungs; and 4, hearts. Only 11 patients (73%) had a smoking history (mean, 66 pack-years). The following carcinomas developed in our patient population: adenocarcinoma, 6 patients; squamous cell, 5; large cell undifferentiated, 2; bronchoalveolar, 1; and small cell, 1. Eight patients (53%) presented with inoperable stage IIIB or IV disease. The remaining patients presented in stages IA (n = 2), IB (n = 1), IIB (n = 2), and IIIA (n = 2); all underwent resection. No major postoperative complications occurred. All patients with stage IIIB or greater disease with or without treatment died quickly (mean survival, 1.4 months; range, 0.33-3.0 months). All patients with stage IIB or less remain alive a mean of 37 months after resection. Patients with stage IIIA survived only a mean of 6.0 months despite resection.
Regarding LCs in transplant recipients compared with LCs in the nontransplant population, we find that (1) there is an increased incidence among nonsmokers; (2) death occurs rapidly in unresected patients; (3) resection carries a low morbidity rate; and (4) resection seems to offer a high chance of cure in those with cancers staged IIB or less.