Organ Transplantation: What is the Risk of Cancer Transmission?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rajeev Desai
SpR Gastroenterology, City Hospital Birmingham
Honorary Clinical Research Fellow
University Hospital Birmingham / NHS Blood and Transplant, Bristol

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Desai: This study of a large national cohort of organ donors shows that, following careful assessment and selection, organs from some donors with a previous history of cancer can be used safely for transplantation. The risks of accepting such organs for transplantation should be balanced with risks of non-acceptance and its consequences including delayed transplantation or non-transplantation.


MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Desai: Current guidelines for assessment of donors suggest exclusion of all donors with a history of certain types of cancers, as such organs are considered to pose high risk of transmission of cancer. The findings of our study show that some such donors, following careful selection, can be a valuable source additional organs

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Desai: In our study, in spite of a large donor cohort, the number of donors with individual cancers was small. Experience from such donors should be studied from larger transplant programmes to produce additional evidence which explores the risks and benefits of accepting organs from donors with past cancer.

Citation:

Estimated risk of cancer transmission from organ donor to graft recipient in a national transplantation registry

Desai, R., Collett, D., Watson, C. J. E., Johnson, P., Evans, T. and Neuberger, J. (2014), Estimated risk of cancer transmission from organ donor to graft recipient in a national transplantation registry. Br J Surg. doi: 10.1002/bjs.9460