Quitting Smoking Cuts Cancer Risk After Liver Transplant

Study also found smoking after transplant increased risk of smoking-related tumors

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News)-- Liver transplant patients who quit smoking are less likely to develop smoking-related cancers, a new study suggests.

Spanish researchers reviewed data from hundreds of patients who had their first liver transplant between April 1990 and December 2009. Over the average follow-up period of 7.5 years, patients who quit smoking after their transplant had a lower incidence of smoking-related cancers than those who kept smoking.

Smoking-related cancers were identified in 13.5 percent of patients who died during the study period. All in all, 26 patients were diagnosed with 29 smoking-related cancers.

The types of cancers looked at in this study were lung, head and neck, esophagus, and kidney and urinary tract (other than prostate) cancers.

Some previous studies have suggested that longer duration of, or stronger, immunosuppression treatment may be associated with increased risk of cancer among transplant patients. But this study found no such link.

Instead, the researchers concluded that smoking after a transplant increases the risk of cancer, and quitting smoking following the transplant decreases the risk.

The study appears in the April issue of the journal Liver Transplantation.

"As smoking is an important risk factor of malignancy, intervention programs, together with screening programs, may help to reduce the rate of cancer-related mortality in liver transplant patients," study leader Dr. J. Ignacio Herrero concluded in a news release on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society.

More information

The American Liver Foundation has more about liver transplantation.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Liver Transplantation, news release, March 28, 2011

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