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Higher Lung Cancer Incidence in Heart Transplant Patients

Incidence increased in pretransplantation smokers and men compared to nonsmokers and women

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of lung cancer among heart transplantation (HT) patients may be higher than in the general population, and this increase is not associated with an increased prevalence of smokers among HT patients, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.

Maria G. Crespo-Leiro, M.D., from the Hospital Universitario A Coruña in Spain, and colleagues investigated the incidence rates of lung cancer in 4,357 adult HT patients since 1984. The incidence of lung cancer was compared with Global Cancer Statistics 2002 (GLOBOCAN 2002) estimates of incidence in the general Spanish population.

The investigators found that 102 cases of lung cancer (mainly squamous cell and adenocarcinoma) were diagnosed an average of 6.4 years after HT. An increased incidence was seen with increasing age at HT from 149 per 100,000 person-years in recipients younger than 45 to 542 per 100,000 person-years in recipients older than 64. Incidence was four times greater in pre-HT smokers than nonsmokers, and it was 4.6 times greater in men than women. Compared to the general population estimates from GLOBOCAN 2002, incidence rates in age-at-diagnosis groups with more than one case were significantly greater. Comparison with data from the general population suggests that this increase was not due to a higher prevalence of smokers among the HT patients.

"The risk of lung cancer is greater among HT patients than in the general population, especially in view of the between-age-group consistency in the sign of the difference," the authors write.

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