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Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 Oct;55(7):438-41.

Long-term survival of heart transplant recipients with lung cancer: the role of chest computed tomography screening.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, La PitiƩ Hospital, Paris, France.



We sought to evaluate the screening modality and outcome of lung cancer occurring in heart transplant recipients (HTR) during a 21-year period.


We conducted a retrospective review to investigate the incidence, risk factors, screening modality, treatment, and outcomes in HTR with lung cancer. We compared them with a case-matched HTR control group.


Out of 829 recipients of heart transplants, 19 cases of bronchogenic carcinoma were found either by routine chest X-ray (n = 10), chest computed tomographic (CT) scanning (n = 4), or by assessment of clinical symptoms (n = 5). The mean time from transplantation to bronchogenic carcinoma diagnosis was 68.8 +/- 42.4 months. A history of smoking was the only risk factor in HTR with bronchogenic carcinoma compared to their case-matched HTR control group ( P < 0.05). Of 18 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 13 underwent surgery and 5 with advanced cancer underwent chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. NSCLC was diagnosed by chest X-ray (n = 10), and 6 of these patients died after an average of 43.7 +/- 62.2 months following cancer detection. NSCLC was also diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms (n = 4), and 2 of these patients died after a mean follow-up of 9 +/- 4.2 months after cancer diagnosis. All 4 patients in whom cancer was detected by CT scan were alive at an average of 53.5 +/- 36.7 months following cancer detection. The survival rates did not differ between the study and control groups ( P = 0.5).


Optimal outcomes of treatment for primary lung cancer after heart transplantation seem to be related to early detection. A high proportion of deaths from NSCLC may be prevented by chest CT scan screening.

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