(HealthDay News) — Kidney failure and having a kidney transplant may increase the risk for certain types of cancer, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Elizabeth Yanik, Ph.D., of the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues looked at data from 202,195 U.S. kidney transplant candidates and recipients.

Along with finding that these patients are at increased risk for certain types of cancer, the investigators also identified clear patterns of risk associated with different types of treatment. The risk of kidney and thyroid cancers was especially high when kidney failure patients were on dialysis. The risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, melanoma, and certain other types of skin cancers was highest after kidney transplantation.

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“Our study indicates that the needs of individuals with end-stage renal disease, in terms of cancer prevention and cancer screening, will likely differ over time,” Yanik said in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology. “Vigilance for kidney cancer and thyroid cancer may be of particular importance while these individuals are on dialysis. Extra consideration for screening for melanoma or lung cancer may be called for while taking immunosuppressant medications following a kidney transplant.”


  1. Yanik EL, Clarke CA, Snyder JJ, Pfeiffer RM, and Engels EA. Variation in Cancer Incidence among Patients with ESRD during Kidney Function and Nonfunction Intervals. JASN. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2015040373.
  2. Lim WH and Chadban SJ. Cancer in ESRD: Clear on the Epidemiology, Hazy on the Mechanisms. JASN. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2015091021.