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Transplantation. 2000 Dec 27;70(12):1747-51.

First report of the United Network for Organ Sharing Transplant Tumor Registry: donors with a history of cancer.

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  • 1United Network for Organ Sharing, Richmond, VA 23225-8770, USA.



Severe organ shortages have led to donor pool expansion to include older individuals, patients with hypertension, diabetes, and a past history of cancer. Transmission of cancer from cadaveric donors is a risk of transplantation and carries a high mortality rate.


During a 33 month period, UNOS recorded 14,705 cadaveric donors of which 257 had a past history of cancer (PHC). A total of 650 organs (397 kidneys, 178 livers, and 75 hearts) were transplanted from these 257 donors. Type of cancer, tumor-free interval at organ procurement, and whether any PHC donor transmitted a tumor to the recipient were analyzed.


Three PHC donor tumor types (skin, brain, genitourinary) were associated with 549 of the transplanted organs (85%). Twenty-eight recipients of PHC donor organs developed posttransplantation tumors (18 skin, 2 PTLD, 8 solid cancers). During a mean follow-up of 45 months (range 30-61 months), no recipients of organs from PHC donors developed a donor derived cancer. The majority (71.5%) of all non-skin and non-CNS system cancer donors had a cancer-free interval of greater than five years.


Risks of cancer transmission from donors with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer and selected cancers of the CNS appear to be small. Risks of tumor transmission with certain other types of cancer may be acceptable, particularly if the donor has a long cancer-free interval prior to organ procurement while certain other cancers pose a high transmission risk. Selective use of PHC donors may permit expansion of the donor pool.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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