The state of immunosuppression which follows a kidney transplant can be the reason why transplant patients have up to three times as much risk of dying from certain types of cancer after transplant, according to an article from the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, by Maria Valero.

Tumors can be can begin in a virus, and so it is crucial to continue investigating the immune system in the fight against this disease. The conclusions of a pertinent study can be seen in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ‘The Journal of the American Medical Association’ (JAMA).

This study follows 28,855 patients with chronic kidneydisease over three stages—five years before receiving kidney transplant, while they’re taking dialysis and after receiving the new organ.

Researchers saw that, after transplant, the incidence of certain types of cancer was multiplied by three. For example, they saw a significant increase in the diagnoses of melanoma, lymphoma, leukemia, tumors of the tongue, mouth, esophagus, stomach, cervix, penis, eye and thyroid.

However, Rafael Matesanz, the director of the organization Organización Nacional de Trasplantes en España (National Transplant Organization of Spain), indicates that this risk has been known for a long time among specialists, and could be considered a small risk because the benefits of the transplant are greater than the risks.

It has been known, scientists admit, that the immunodeficiency which follows an organ transplant, can be connected with more frequent diagnoses of non-melanoma skin tumors, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. However, this may be the first time that the related risks of other kinds of tumors have been studied.

The fact of having studied  the same population for a long time lets researchers exclude other risk factors which could have existed before the transplant surgery and to include those which are related to kidney disease or to the dialysis process. The cause of this phenomenon seems to be in the interaction between the immunologic system and certain viral infections, which can be the origin of some cancers.

Many of the cancers that increase in frequency after surgery have been associated before with chronic infection by certain viruses like papiloma virus (for cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis and tongue) or Epstein-Barr (for Hodgkin’s disease). It doesn’t take into account the greater number of breast and prostate cancer diagnoses.

This study adds valuable information to the knowledge of what role somecommon infections play in the development of great variety of different kinds of cancer.