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Non-smoker receives donor lung from a smoker and dies of lung cancer

Non-smoker receives donor lung from a smoker and dies of lung cancer


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Implanted risk of lung cancer from donor lung

Specialists recently examined a sad case from France. According to the medical report, a 39-year-old woman from France got a new lung because she had been suffering from cystic fibrosis since childhood. The donor organ came from a 57-year-old smoker who had consumed 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years. Two years after the transplant, the woman with severe lung problems was admitted to the Montpellier University Clinic. Lung cancer was diagnosed in the non-smoker. She died of complications two months later.

A French panel of experts clarified in a report the risks posed by donor lunges that come from long-time smokers. To do this, they investigated a case in which a non-smoker died of lung cancer after a smoker's lungs were inserted. The report recently appeared in the Lung Cancer magazine.

The donor was a heavy smoker

A 39-year-old woman was admitted to the oncology department of the Montpellier University Hospital. Due to life-long cystic fibrosis, she suffered from constant breathing difficulties and her breathing capacity decreased increasingly. A double lung transplant was finally performed in November 2015. The donor register shows that the donor lung originated from a 57-year-old woman who had smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years. Before the transplant, the organ was thoroughly examined for the presence of lung foci using computed tomography.

Fate begins two years later

At first the patient's condition improved. Less than two years later, however, she was again hospitalized. She suffered from severe fever and shortness of breath. The doctors diagnosed a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer. The tumor grew so fast that it doubled every 28 days, the doctors report. This is said to be much shorter than is commonly observed. The doubling rate for this type of tumor is normally around 600 days.

The woman with the donor organ had no chance

Within a short period of time, several foci of cancer had formed in the lungs and numerous metastases. The therapies all had no prospect of success. The woman died two months later of the consequences of lung cancer.

Mutation from smoking

The analysis of the tumor DNA showed that a certain genetic mutation was responsible for the rapid growth. This mutation is usually only associated with smoking. Professor Jean-Louis Pujol and his colleagues analyzed the case. They conclude that the immune suppressant medication the patient had to take after the transplant was likely responsible for the accelerated growth.

Shouldn't smokers' lungs be released for donation?

The report's authors conclude that given the long latency period in lung cancer, it is not recommended to transplant a lung from long-time smokers, especially if they have recently quit smoking. (vb)

Author and source information



Video: Why are more non-smoking women getting diagnosed with lung cancer? (June 2022).


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