Low incidence of malignancy among sirolimus/cyclosporine-treated renal transplant recipients

Barry D. Kahan, Yarkin K. Yakupoglu, Linda Schoenberg, Richard J. Knight, Stephen M. Katz, Deijan Lai, Charles T. Van Buren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Background. Malignancies, a well-known complication of immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplant recipients, represent an important cause of long-term morbidity and mortality. One approach to addressing this problem is identifying agents that display antineoplastic properties concomitant with their immunosuppressive effects. Methods. We examined the neoplasms among 1008 renal transplant recipients treated at a single center with sirolimus-cyclosporine ± prednisone. Results. Clinical and laboratory data, including 62.3±26.1 months follow-up (range 27.1-131), revealed 36 tumors in 35 patients (3.6%) presenting at 32.5±29.8 months. The 2.4% incidence of skin tumors, the most common neoplasms, was 1.58-fold greater than the general U.S. population. In addition to a 0.4% incidence of posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) and a 0.2% incidence of renal cell carcinomas, we observed single cases of breast, bladder, endometrial, lung, and brain neoplasms as well as leukemia. The mean trough drug concentrations at the time of diagnosis in affected recipients were within our putative target ranges. In addition to eleven graft losses due to death with a functioning kidney, two were related to chronic rejection following reduced immunosuppression, and one, therapeutic nephrectomy for PTLD. Five of twelve deaths were caused by malignancies; four others among 1008 patients over the entire follow-up were attributed to cardiovascular events; one, to respiratory failure; and two, at distant locations to unknown causes. Conclusions. The sirolimus-cyclosporine ± prednisone combination appears likely to be associated with a reduced incidence of tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-758
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 27 2005


  • Kidney transplantation
  • Malignancy
  • Sirolimus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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