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Transplantation of Organs from Deceased Donors with Cancer

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29 Apr 2014


We would like to bring to your notice advice just published by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO).  SaBTO has reviewed the use of organs for transplantation from donors with cancer or a history of cancer, and drawn up evidence-based recommendations to guide decision making.   

People with cancer are not usually considered as potential organ donors because of the risk of transmitting the malignancy. The risk varies widely, however, depending on the nature of the cancer in question.  In certain circumstances it may still be possible to carry out the wishes of this group of donors, and there is value in evidence-based guidance which transplant surgeons can use when deciding whether it would be to their patient’s benefit to accept an organ from a donor with cancer. 

SaBTO’s Working Group reviewed the literature and also analysed data from the UK National Transplant Registry relating to the outcomes of transplants from donors with a history of cancer.  Based on this evidence, they have categorised a number of cancers according to their risk of transmission to an organ recipient, and drawn up a series of recommendations.   

To read SaBTO’s report and recommendations visit their website.

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