Lung cancer following lung transplant: Single institution 10 year experience

E. V. Belli, K. Landolfo, C. Keller, M. Thomas, J. Odell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Lung cancer following lung transplantation is an infrequent occurrence of post-transplant neoplasia. Tumors are classified based on donor or recipient origin. Recipient tumors can be diagnosed in explanted specimens or found in contralateral native lungs which remain in place during single lung transplant (SLTx). The aim of our study was to review our institution's incidence of post lung transplant lung cancer, describe tumor histology, and review our experience with their outcomes. Methods: A total of 335 lung transplants from 2001 to 2010 were reviewed. Patients were identified with a post-transplant diagnosis of lung cancer, neoplasia, or mass. Fifteen patients were identified; two were excluded due to concomitant cancers with which the lung cancer would represent a metastasis. Retrospective chart review was undertaken for thirteen patients for descriptive statistics, tumor characteristics and overall survival. Results: Overall incidence of lung cancer following transplant was 13 cases (3.88%). Six tumors were found in native explanted lungs and six developed subsequently in native lungs. One tumor was confirmed to be of donor origin.Histology included squamous cell in five (38.4%), adenocarcinoma in four (30.7%), and one patient each with adenosquamous (7.6%), carcinoid (7.6%), small cell (7.6%), or malignant solitary fibrous tumor (7.6%). Mean age at transplant was 65. ±. 3 years. Mean time from transplant to diagnosis is reported as 241. ±. 7 days (range 1-1170). Each patient had at least a 20 pack year smoking history with a mean of 45. ±. 3 years. One-year survival for those with lung cancer following transplant was 42.8% while 1 year survival of all lung transplants at our institution is 85.7%. Conclusion: Lung cancer incidentally found at the time of transplant or following transplantation is a serious complication with a noted effect on overall survival. The infrequent occurrence of donor tumors represents an adequate screening process of potential young donor lungs. The recognition of cancers in explanted specimens brings to question policies regarding screening of potential recipients with extensive smoking history. A high index of suspicion for native tumors is needed when conducting post-transplant surveillance as these tumors tend to be stage 4 at time diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-454
Number of pages4
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Donor lung cancer
  • Lung
  • Lung cancer
  • Post tranplant malignanacy
  • Psot tranplant neoplasia
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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