Objective Liver transplantation (LT) is the treatment of choice for end-stage liver disease. The required immunosuppression increases the risk for developing malignancies. Some viruses play a crucial role. Data on neoplasms of the colon, rectum and anus in LT are limited.
Method A retrospective evaluation of the incidence and clinical course of colorectal and anal malignancies and colonic polyps in a series of 467 consecutive LTs in 402 individuals between 1998 and 2001 was performed. Standard immunosuppression included Tacrolimus, Mycophenolic acid and steroids.
Results During a median follow up of 5.2 years, three colon adenocarcinomas, one EBV associated cecal post-transplant lymphoproliferative tumour and two HPV associated anal tumours were identified. Pre-LT colonoscopy was performed in 161 patients (40%), and of 153 evaluable individuals, 53 (34.9%) had polyps. Colonoscopy was performed in 186 patients (46.3%) median 14.8 (range 0.2–77.8) months post-LT and 55 (29.3%) had polyps. Post-LT adenomatous polyps were detected in 47.3% of patients with pre-LT polyps vs 6.7% of patients without pre-LT polyps (P < 0.001). Patients with alcoholic liver disease had a significantly higher rate of adenoma formation (50.0%vs 11.1%, P < 0.001). No patient died from colorectal/anal malignancy.
Conclusion The incidence of metachronous and new polyp formation in our study is similar to people who are not immunocompromised, but subgroups are at increased risk. Viral-associated malignancies, including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders and anal cancer, are important entities in the LT population suggesting that complete screening of the colon, rectum and anus including pre-LT and post-LT colonoscopy should be utilized.