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Lung Transplantation

Lung cancer

07/01/2008

Question:

My mom has small cell cancer that is confined in the lungs. Is it possibile to give her one of my lungs?

Answer:

Unfortunately, lung transplantation (both from a cadaver or living donor) is not a viable option for the treatment of lung cancer.  In fact, national guidelines recommend at least a two year disease-free interval before lung transplantation be performed for patients with most types of cancer.  Some forms of cancer require a minimum five year disease-free interval before transplantation can be considered.  The reason for this time interval is to assure that the patient has been cleared of their cancer before inducing a state of profound immunodeficiency which is necessary to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ.  There is also concern that the use of these necessary immunosuppressive medications may increase the chances of a recurrence of the cancer.

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Response by:

David  R Nunley, MD, FCCP David R Nunley, MD, FCCP
Former Associate Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University