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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2002 Dec;124(6):1190-7.

Primary lung carcinoma after heart or lung transplantation: management and outcome.

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Thoracic Surgery and Transplant Unit, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, Harefield Hospital, Uxbridge, Middlesex, United Kingdom.



We sought to examine our management and outcome of lung carcinoma occurring after thoracic organ transplantation.


We performed a retrospective review of cases of primary lung carcinoma diagnosed between 1990 and 2000 in patients who have previously undergone thoracic transplantation at our institution.


Seventeen patients were identified (1 lung and 16 heart transplants). Median time from transplantation to diagnosis of lung carcinoma was 89 months (range, 46-138 months). Predominant presentation was as an incidental finding at chest radiography (13/17). All patients had smoked cigarettes before transplantation, with 5 continuing to smoke after transplantation. Histologic types were squamous (n = 11), adenocarcinoma (n = 3), small cell (n = 2), and undifferentiated (n = 1). Revised International Union Against Cancer (UICC) clinical stage at the time of diagnosis was stage I or II in 11 of 17 patients. Of these, 9 underwent surgical resection; 2 patients unfit for surgical intervention had radiotherapy. Surgical procedures were lobectomy (n = 5), wedge excision (n = 3), and no resection (n = 1). Median survival after diagnosis was 12 months for all patients and 24 months if the tumor was resected. Six patients who had surgical resection subsequently died (survival of 2, 9, 21, 21, 36, and 67 months); 2 remain alive after 12 and 54 months, respectively.


When possible, surgical intervention should be undertaken for early stage lung cancer occurring after thoracic transplantation because medium-term survival is achievable. Sublobar excisions and definitive radiotherapy should be considered if comorbidity prevents optimal surgical treatment.

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