/Four patients developed cancer after transplants from the same donor
Four Patients Developed Cancer After Transplants From The Same Donor

Four patients developed cancer after transplants from the same donor

Patients have developed breast cancer after receiving a transplant from the same donor in 2007. Fortunately, this phenomenon is extremely rare.

Four patients developed cancer after transplants from the same donor

According to a study, published in l’American journal of transplantation and reported on Dr Marc Gozlan’s blog, four patients who each received an organ from the same donor in 2007 developed breast cancer, 16 months to 6 years after the transplant.

No trace of cancer was detected in the donor

The donor, a 53-year-old woman, died in April 2007 of a cerebral hemorrhage. At the time, the various examinations performed before organ harvesting had detected no trace of breast cancer in this woman.

Of the four patients, who had received organs from this donor and each developed breast cancer in the months or years after the transplant, three died of the disease.

The fourth patient owed his salvation only to a regular follow-up, put in place by his doctors after they realized that the patient who had received the lungs had died of breast cancer, detected 16 months later. the transplant. When in 2011, cancer cells were found in the kidney transplanted to this patient in 2007, the decision to remove the graft was made. Immunosuppressive treatment, which prevents the patient’s immune system from rejecting the transplant, is stopped and the man is placed on chemotherapy. What visibly saved him: cured of his cancer in 2012, he still had not relapsed in April 2017.

An exceptional phenomenon

According to the team of German and Dutch researchers who conducted the study, the donor was, in fact, a carrier of undetectable micrometastases linked to breast cancer. These metastases were transmitted to the four patients via the grafts and then diffused in the organism of the recipients.

The transmission of cancer from an organ donor to a recipient is extremely rare. During an organ transplant, this risk of transmission oscillates between 0.01 and 0.05%. For the scientists who conducted the study, this suggests that if cells linked to breast cancer are transmitted to a recipient from the donor, it is best to remove the transplant and restore the immunity of the donor. sick by stopping immunosuppressive treatment to then treat the cancer with the best possible chance of success.

In France, people with a malignant and / or metastatic tumor are generally excluded from organ donation.