Beyond cancer treatment - a review of total lymphoid irradiation for heart and lung transplant recipients

Clare McKay, Kellie A. Knight, Caroline Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Immunosuppressive drugs used in the management of heart and lung transplants have a large monetary and quality of life cost due to their side effects. Total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) is one method of minimising the need for or replacing post-operative immunosuppressive drugs. A literature review was conducted on electronic databases using defined search terms. The aim was to establish the indications for the use of TLI, its advantages and disadvantages and the weaknesses associated with the methods used in related research. Eight articles were located that focused on TLI usage in combating organ rejection. These studies identified that the use of TLI resulted in a reduction in early rejection. One study reported a drop in rejection episodes from 0.46 to 0.14 episodes per patient per month once the TLI was complete. While the short-term prognosis is excellent, the long-term outlook is less positive with an increased risk of organ rejection and myelodysplasia 3.5 years post-TLI. This review reminds us that radiation therapy (RT) is not exclusively indicated for cancer treatment. While TLI cannot replace immunosuppressive drug therapy, it can offer a treatment option for people that cannot tolerate immunosuppressive drugs, or when conventional anti-rejection treatment is no longer viable. Reported long-term complications suggest that TLI should be used with caution. However, this modality should not be overlooked in cases of chronic rejection. Further research is required to establish the efficacy of RT in the treatment of transplant patients who are unsuitable for drug-based anti-rejection therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Radiation Sciences
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Lymphatic irradiation
  • Organ transplantation
  • Radiation oncology
  • Radiotherapy
  • Review

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