About one and a half years after she had received the lungs of a long-time smoker, a French woman died of lung cancer. A study now published in the journal "Lung Cancer" therefore warns of risks in the transplantation of smoker organs.

According to the report, the patient, who has been suffering from the metabolic disease cystic fibrosis since childhood, received the lungs of a 57-year-old woman in November 2015. According to available data, the donor smoked a pack of cigarettes daily for 30 years. In June 2017, the recipient of the lung was admitted to the cancer ward of the University Hospital Montpellier, where she died of lung cancer two months later, without any treatment being possible. The study showed that the patient has symptoms typical of smoking-induced lung cancer.

Drugs promoted cancer even further

The short interval between organ transplantation and the appearance of first irregularities in X-ray images of the lungs indicated that the cancer had already been triggered during the life of the donor, said the authors of the study. Anti-immune drugs that the organ recipient had to take to prevent rejection of the donor organ would have promoted the development of the cancer.

Given the long latency period for lung cancer, it is advisable to reconsider the transplantation of lungs from smokers or donors who have recently quit smoking, the authors concluded.

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