Kidney cancer following heart transplantation is a common presentation of an uncommon malignancy: A unique case series

Yael Peled*, Eilon Ram, Jacob Lavee, Zohar Dotan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Heart transplantation (HT) success rate is limited by a high incidence of cancer post-HT. Data on kidney cancer following solid organ transplantation, especially HT, are limited, and only a few cases have been reported. Objectives: To report a unique case series of detected kidney cancer following HT. Methods: Between 1997 and 2018, 265 patients who underwent HT were enrolled and prospectively followed in the HT registry of the Sheba Medical Center. Results: The series included 5 patients: 4 men and a woman (age range 35-50 years at HT). The patients were diagnosed with kidney tumors 6-11 years after HT (age range at diagnosis 40-72 years). Two of the men were identical twin brothers. At HT four patients received induction therapy with anti-thy-mocyte globulin and all received an initial immunosuppressive regimen based on cyclosporine. All male HT recipients had a history of heavy smoking. Two male patients developed allograft vasculopathy, but all had preserved heart function. The 72-year-old woman developed a kidney tumor of the native kidney 5 years after re-HT and kidney transplantation. Two patients had features of multifocal papillary renal cell carcinoma and eventually underwent bilateral nephrectomy, while another patient underwent left partial nephrectomy with preserved renal function. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case series study describing kidney tumors following HT. With the improving outcomes and life expectancy of HT patients, a better understanding of the factors that determine cancer risk is of the utmost importance and may have a major impact on the non-cardiac surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-288
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Heart transplantation
  • Immunosuppression
  • Kidney cancer
  • Renal cell carcinoma (RCC)
  • Solid organ


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