Non-skin cancers occur more frequently in African-American (AA) than Caucasian renal transplant recipients, according to researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

The findings may have important implications with respect to cancer education and pre-and post-transplant surveillance of AA renal transplant candidates and recipients.

“At our center, 84% of our kidney transplants are performed in African Americans,” said lead investigator Scott A. Gruber, MD, PhD, MBA, Professor of Surgery and Chief of Transplant Surgery. “So we are in a unique situation to look at this issue.”

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Dr. Gruber, who presented study findings at the Central Surgical Association annual meeting in Chicago, said this is the first study to elucidate in detail the types of non-skin cancers that are more common in AA transplant recipients than in Caucasian recipients. 

Study findings suggest that “African Americans may need to be educated and treated differently with regard to cancer surveillance,” Dr. Gruber said. 

It is well documented that Caucasian renal allograft recipients are at increased risk for cancer development compared with the general population, with skin cancer being the most common tumor type occurring in this patient population. However, little research has been conducted on the overall cancer incidence and types of cancer in separately-analyzed AA renal allograft recipients.

The study by Dr. Gruber’s group included 495 AA adult renal allograft recipients transplanted at their institution over a 24-year period (January 1984 through December 2007) and followed through June 2009.

The researchers compared these patients with 11,155 Caucasian renal allograft recipients in the Canadian Organ Replacement Registry (CORR) transplanted from 1981 to 1998 and followed through December 
1999. Non-skin malignancies dev-
eloped in 10.7% of the AA group 
compared with 7.0% in the CORR group. The incidence of prostate, kidney, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers was significantly higher in AA renal transplant recipients than in their Caucasian counterparts.

Prostate cancer occurred in 2.42% of the AA group compared with only 0.33% in the CORR group. Kidney cancer occurred in 1.82% of the AA group versus 0.62% of the CORR group. The incidence of pancreatic cancer was 0.61% in the AA group but only 0.06% in the CORR group. Esophageal cancer occurred in 0.40% and 0.04% of the AA and CORR 
groups, respectively. n