Chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy: Which drugs can be safely used in the solid organ transplant recipients?

Umberto Maggiore, Alessandra Palmisano, Sebastiano Buti, Giulia Claire Giudice, Dario Cattaneo, Nicola Giuliani, Enrico Fiaccadori, Ilaria Gandolfini, Paolo Cravedi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In solid organ transplant recipients, cancer is associated with worse prognosis than in the general population. Among the causes of increased cancer-associated mortality, are the limitations in selecting the optimal anticancer regimen in solid organ transplant recipients, because of the associated risks of graft toxicity and rejection, drug-to-drug interactions, reduced kidney or liver function, and patient frailty and comorbid conditions. The advent of immunotherapy has generated further challenges, mainly because checkpoint inhibitors increase the risk of rejection, which may have life-threatening consequences in recipients of life-saving organs. In general, there are no safe or unsafe anticancer drugs. Rather, the optimal choice of the anticancer regimen results from a careful risk/benefit assessment, from the awareness of potential pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug-to-drug interactions, and of the risk of drug overexposure in patients with kidney or liver dysfunction. In this review, we summarize general principles that may help the oncologists and transplant physicians in the multidisciplinary management of recipients of solid organ transplantation with cancer who are candidates for chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2442-2458
Number of pages17
JournalTransplant International
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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