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Author Notes:

E-mail address: damrati@emory.edu

D.A. participated in research design, performance of research, data collection, data analysis, and writing of the article.

W.H. participated in research design, data analysis, and writing of the article.

D.N. participated by reviewing the article.

S.V. participated in research design and reviewing the article.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Research Funding:

None declared


  • malignancy
  • lung transplantation
  • retrospective study

Incidentally Detected Malignancies in Lung Transplant Explants.


Journal Title:

Transplantation Direct


Volume 5, Number 11


, Pages e503-e503

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Active malignancy diagnosed within 5 years is an absolute contraindication for lung transplantation. In this study, we evaluated the rate of incidental malignancies detected in explanted lungs at our institution and assessed the posttransplant survival in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods: A retrospective chart review of lung transplant recipients at our institution from February 1999 to June 2017 was conducted. A literature review was performed to evaluate the prevalence and survival outcomes in patients with unexpected malignancies. Results: From 407 patients who underwent lung transplantation, 9 (2.2%) were discovered to have malignant neoplasms. There were 3 cases of adenocarcinoma, 3 cases of adenocarcinoma in situ, 2 cases of squamous cell carcinoma, and 1 case of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. An extensive literature review found 12 case reports or case series reporting malignancy discovered at the time of lung transplantation. The overall prevalence of incidental neoplasms among 6746 recipients is around 1.5% (n = 103). The most common neoplasms discovered included adenocarcinoma (n = 56, 54%) and squamous cell carcinoma (n = 29, 28%). The overall 3-year survival was 54.4% for patients with localized NSCLC compared to 5.7% for those with nonlocalized disease. Conclusions: Unidentified malignancies occur despite aggressive radiographic surveillance with poor posttransplant outcomes in patients with advanced malignancy. Malignancy-related radiographic findings may be missed pretransplant secondary to architectural distortion of lung parenchyma related to end-stage lung disease or because of the critical timing of surgery when donor lungs are available.

Copyright information:

© 2019 The Author(s). Transplantation Direct. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. CC BY NC ND 4.0

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