Four Cases of Breast Cancer Linked to Transplantation of Organs from the Same Donor

Four Cases of Breast Cancer Linked to Transplantation of Organs from the Same Donor
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An extraordinary situation took place in Europe, as breast cancer has developed in four people who have received organs from one specific donor. According to a paper published in the American Journal of Transplantation, the fact that three of them died due to the illness seems to underline the “often-fatal consequences of donor-derived breast cancer.”

No illness was found in the donor prior to the transplantation

As it was reported by “Life Science”, the organ donor was a woman who died from a stroke in 2007 at the age of 53. During the tests that were supposed to determine whether she is a suitable donor, no signs of any illnesses, including cancer, were found. Following the examination, the heart, liver, lungs and both kidneys were transplanted into five patients. Out of them, the one who received the heart died soon after the operation.

Three donor recipients died of breast cancer

Unfortunately, the three recipients that required liver, lung and left kidney transplants died of cancer within the next six years. The fourth one, a 32-year-old man who received the other kidney, was diagnosed with cancer cells in the transplanted organ in 2011. Luckily, the kidney was removed on time and a chemotherapy treatment proved to be successful, as the man is cancer-free since then.

The cancer cells’ DNA was analyzed, proving that they came from the organ donor.

According to the scientists, a chance of developing cancer due to transplantation is rare, rated at between 1 in 10,000 and 5 in 10,000. This clearly shows that our current methods of donor screening are highly effective, the report concludes. The researchers also added that in the situation when cancer does pass from a donor to the recipient, doctors should remove the transplants from all the patients that received organs from the same donor.


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