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The reduced incidence of rectal cancer, compared to gastric and colonic cancer, in a population of 73,076 men and women chronically immunosupressed.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • T. H. M. Stewart
  • Robin Henderson
  • H. Grayson
  • G. Opelz
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/1997
<mark>Journal</mark>Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)51-55
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The incidence of gastric, colonic, and rectal cancers was determined in a cohort of 73,076 men and women chronically immunosuppressed after heart or renal transplantation, to test the hypothesis that there would be a reduced incidence of gastric cancer by dampening chronic gastritis secondary to infection caused by Helicobacter pylori. Follow-up was from 1-13 years. No change in the incidence of gastric cancer was found (32 cases observed, 32.86 expected). An increase in colon cancer was found (75 cases observed, 62.27 expected). A significant reduction in the incidence of rectal cancer was found (15 cases observed, 41.5 expected). This led to a chi2 of 16.92 with 1 degree of freedom, significant at the 0.1% level. The effect was greater in men than women and more marked in heart recipients than in those receiving renal transplants. This unexpected finding led to a review of experiments in mice and rats that present evidence for immune promotion of large-bowel cancers induced by carcinogens by gut-associated lymphoid tissue. We conclude that an analysis of immune function in gut-associated lymphoid tissue in the stomach, colon, and rectum in healthy and immunosuppressed patients may lead to a better understanding of immunosurveillance in the colon and immune promotion of rectal cancers.