Four renal transplant patients on immunosuppressive therapy who presented with acute myeloid leukaemia are described. In two cases, azathioprine may have played an important role as a cofactor in leukaemogenesis. In a third case, the alkylating agent cyclophosphamide may have contributed. All patients were treated for leukaemia with full doses of cytotoxic chemotherapy and, in each case, a functioning renal allograft was preserved throughout the treatment despite attenuation of immunosuppressive therapy. Three patients achieved complete remission. Of the three, one is surviving at 2 years and two expired during the pancytopenic phase of their treatment with no active leukaemia present, and with intact renal function. As increasing expertise in the held of organ transplantation allows patients to survive longer, such patients' exposure to immunosuppressive and potentially leukaemogenic drugs is prolonged. The risk of secondary neoplasia has been previously documented in this population. Two of the four cases reported here suffered from polycystic kidney disease as their underlying condition. While this report suggests that the leukaemias are related to renal transplantation, we cannot rule out an association with the underlying disease which led to the transplant. This report further suggests that the leukaemia that develops in such patients may respond to standard therapy, and that such treatment does not compromise the transplanted kidney.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research