Head and neck and esophageal cancers after liver transplant: Results from a multicenter cohort study. Italy, 1997-2010

Pierluca Piselli, Patrizia Burra, Augusto Lauro, Umberto Baccarani, Giuseppe M. Ettorre, Giovanni B. Vizzini, Maria Rendina, Massimo Rossi, Giuseppe Tisone, Fausto Zamboni, Ilaria Bortoluzzi, Antonio D. Pinna, Andrea Risaliti, Laura Galatioto, Giovanni Vennarecci, Alfredo Di Leo, Francesco Nudo, Daniele Sforza, Giovanni Fantola, Claudia CimagliaDiana Verdirosi, Saverio Virdone, Diego Serraino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study quantified the risk of head and neck (HN) and esophageal cancers in 2770 Italian liver transplant (LT) recipients. A total of 186 post-transplant cancers were diagnosed - including 32 cases of HN cancers and nine cases of esophageal carcinoma. The 10-year cumulative risk for HN and esophageal carcinoma was 2.59%. Overall, HN cancers were nearly fivefold more frequent in LT recipients than expected (standardized incidence ratios - SIR=4.7, 95% CI: 3.2-6.6), while esophageal carcinoma was ninefold more frequent (SIR=9.1, 95% CI: 4.1-17.2). SIRs ranged from 11.8 in LT with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) to 1.8 for LT without ALD for HN cancers, and from 23.7 to 2.9, respectively, for esophageal carcinoma. Particularly elevated SIRs in LT with ALD were noted for carcinomas of tongue (23.0) or larynx (13.7). Our findings confirmed and quantified the large cancer excess risk in LT recipients with ALD. The risk magnitude and the prevalence of ALD herein documented stress the need of timely and specifically organized programs for the early diagnosis of cancer among LT recipients, particularly for high-risk recipients like those with ALD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
JournalTransplant International
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2015


  • aerodigestive cancers
  • cancer risk
  • immunosuppression
  • liver cirrhosis
  • liver diseases
  • oncogenic viruses
  • organ transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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