Research Article

Cancer in patients receiving dialysis.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 14 June 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:1401
  1. L J Kinlen,
  2. J B Eastwood,
  3. D N Kerr,
  4. J F Moorhead,
  5. D O Oliver,
  6. B H Robinson,
  7. H E de Wardener,
  8. A J Wing


    The incidence of cancer and related mortality was studied in 1651 patients from six dialysis centres in England over 10 years. The only type of cancer for which there was a significant excess was non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (four cases observed against an expected incidence of 0.15 (p < 0.001); three deaths against an expected 0.1 (p < 0.001)). This excess could not be attributed to either subsequent transplantation or treatment with immunosuppressive drugs. Since immunodepression is a feature of chronic renal failure, these observations together with those on patints treated with immunosuppressive drugs suggest that immunosuppression favours the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Studies in which it is concluded that patients receiving dialysis show an excess of other types of cancer have certain shortcomings; the unusual opportunities for detecting cancer in such patients may account for some of the reported excess.