It is a rare medical case, made public by doctors at the University Hospital Montpellier in a journal Lung cancer and seen by The world. A lung transplant patient died of lung cancer two years after a transplant in August 2017. The transplanted lungs were taken from a 57-year-old woman who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for thirty years.
However, in France, carrying out a transplant requires a series of examinations carried out on the donor patient and its organs in order to provide maximum safety to the recipient. Professor Olaf Mercier, a thoracic and transplant surgeon at Marie-Lannelongue Hospital (92), explains that, beyond compatibility, an exhaustive assessment is made to eliminate all the causes of infection, cancer or pathology that contractured transplantation.
Rare but not impossible
Unfortunately, if there are only a few cancer cells in the organ, it is impossible to detect before transplantation. This was probably the case for this patient who died of cancer after developing a tumor in the transplanted lungs. Olaf Mercier says this is rarely compared to all patients saved by transplantation, but not impossible.
The risk of developing cancer for a transplant patient is favored by taking anti-rejection treatments that reduce immune defense, including against cancer cells.