Background: Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma is a distinctive subtype of typical adenocarcinoma of the lung that tends to metastasize widely throughout the lungs but less commonly elsewhere. Because conventional therapies for intrapulmonary metastatic bronchioloalveolar carcinoma are generally ineffective, we treated seven patients who had intrapulmonary metastatic bronchioloalveolar carcinoma with lung transplantation.
Methods: Seven patients with biopsy-proved bronchioloalveolar carcinoma and no evidence of extrapulmonary disease received transplants of either one or two cadaveric lungs. At transplantation, all native lung tissue was removed and replaced with a donor lung or lungs. The patients received the usual post-transplantation care given at the institution.
Results: Four of the seven patients had recurrent bronchioloalveolar carcinoma within the donor lungs; the recurrences appeared from 10 to 48 months after transplantation. All recurrences were limited to the donor lungs. Histologic and molecular analyses showed that the recurrent tumors in three patients originated from the recipients of the transplants.
Conclusions: Lung transplantation for bronchioloalveolar carcinoma is technically feasible, but recurrence of the original tumor within the donor lungs up to four years after transplantation was common.