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Am J Transplant. 2008 Jan;8(1):238-44. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

Transmission of anaplastic large cell lymphoma via organ donation after cardiac death.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


Recently, donation after cardiac death (DCD) has been encouraged in order to expand the donor pool. We present a case of anaplastic T-cell lymphoma transmitted to four recipients of solid organ transplants from a DCD donor suspected of having bacterial meningitis. On brain biopsy, the donor was found to have anaplastic central nervous system T-cell lymphoma, and the recipient of the donor's pancreas, liver and kidneys were found to have involvement of T-cell lymphoma. The transplanted kidneys and pancreas were excised from the respective recipients, and the kidney and pancreas recipients responded well to chemotherapy. The liver recipient underwent three cycles of chemotherapy, but later died due to complications of severe tumor burden. We recommend transplanting organs from donors with suspected bacterial meningitis only after identification of the infectious organism. In cases of lymphoma transmission, excision of the graft may be the only chance at long-term survival.

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