A woman with cystic fibrosis died of cancer after donating lungs of smokers. If the risks associated with the transplantation of such organs remain low, this case is not isolated. A woman with breast cancer transmitted her illness to patients who received her organs.
Development of lung cancer during donor life
The results of a study conducted by doctors from Montpellier University Hospital and published in the Lung Cancer Journal revealed that the lungs received by the deceased patient were taken from a large smoker. At the age of 57, she smoked cigarettes daily for 30 years according to donor data.
The tests were carried out at the time of the death of the fifties after the death of the brain. However, doctors did not reveal anything abnormally. Since latency is a lung cancer, the rapid development of cancer in the recipient suggests that carcinogenesis has begun during donor life.
It has been two years between transplantation and the appearance of the first radiological anomaly. The authors of the study believe that this period is very short. The immunosuppressive treatment of the recipient has certainly accelerated the rate of primary tumor growth and metastases. However, this treatment is essential for preventing the rejection of new lungs.
Smoker's lung transplant is still necessary in terms of survival
Faced with a sharp lack of healthy transplantation, lung donors can save a lot of lives. For the sake of something better, these organs help to remove the worst even if the prolongation of life is short. However, stopping organ transplants from smokers would have dramatic consequences. They represent almost 40% of donors.
A study by scientists at the University of Birmingham showed that survival after transplantation was 4.9 years in the case of a history of smoking in donors compared to 6.5 years without history. By contrast, people with smokers' lungs have a survival of greater than 21% compared to patients who refuse transplantation.
However, doctors are calling for additional precautionary measures for lung transplantation from active smokers or donors who have recently quit smoking. Usually, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of infected organs, people diagnosed with cancer are not allowed to donate their organs, except in rare cases.