Liver Transplant Patients and Colon Cancer | News | Loyola Medicine
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Liver Transplant Patients Have Higher Prevalence of Colon Cancer and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

MAYWOOD, IL – Liver transplant patients over time experience an increasing trend toward colon cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to an award-winning study led by a Loyola Medicine gastroenterologist.

The study by Ayokunle Abegunde, MD, MSc, and colleagues also found that lung and heart transplant patients have a higher trend toward non-melanoma skin cancer.

Dr. Abegunde was the senior author of the study, presented during the American College of Gastroenterology annual conference in Philadelphia.

The study received a Presidential Poster Award in recognition of high-quality research that is unique and interesting. Fewer than 5 percent of accepted studies receive the award.

The immune-suppressing drugs that organ transplant recipients must take to prevent rejection put them at a higher risk for cancer. A weaker immune system is less able to attack cancer cells and makes a patient more vulnerable to infections from viruses that cause cancer.

Dr. Abegunde and colleagues examined records of 124,399 liver, heart and lung transplant patients in the National Inpatient Sample, the largest inpatient database in the United States. Sixty-seven percent were liver transplant recipients, 22 percent heart transplant recipients and 11 percent lung transplant recipients. The average age was 56, and 62 percent were male.

Post-transplant, 7.4 percent of heart transplant patients were diagnosed with cancer, compared with 6.3 percent in both liver and lung transplant patients.

Over time, there was an increasing trend in the prevalence of colon cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in liver transplant recipients compared with lung and heart transplant recipients. There was an increasing trend in the prevalence of non-melanoma skin cancer among heart and lung transplant recipients compared with liver transplant recipients.
The results suggest that liver transplant patients may benefit from more frequent colonoscopy screenings for colon cancer and heart and lung transplant patients may benefit from more active screening for skin cancer, Dr. Abegunde said.

The study is the first to compare cancer trends among heart, lung and liver transplant patients using the National Inpatient Sample.

The study is titled, "Trends in Cancer Prevalence Among Liver, Heart and Lung Transplant Recipients in the United States, 2005 to 2014."

Dr. Abegunde is an assistant professor in the division of gastroenterology, department of Medicine of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Loyola's gastroenterology division is a national leader in colon cancer screening and is ranked 37th among nearly 5,000 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

In addition to Dr. Abegunde, other co-authors of the study are Chimezie Mbachi, MBBS, and Benjamin Mba, MD, of Stroger Hospital of Cook County; Setri Fugar, MD, of Rush University Medical Center; and Madhu Mathew, MD and Anthonia Ijeli, MD, of Cook County Health and Hospitals System.

About Loyola Medicine

Loyola Medicine is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH) in Melrose Park, MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from more than 1,750 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. The medical center campus is also home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. GMH is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments in a convenient community setting at eight locations. Loyola Medicine is a member of Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest health systems with 94 hospitals in 22 states.

About Trinity Health

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 93 hospitals, as well as 122 continuing care programs that include PACE, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 131,000 colleagues, including 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.