Background: Transmission of donor malignancies has been intermittently reported since the early days of clinical transplantation. The incidence of United States donor related malignancies has not previously been documented.
Methods: All donor related malignancies reported to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing from 4/1/94-7/1/01 in a cohort of 34,933 cadaveric donors and 108,062 recipients were investigated by contacting the transplant centers to verify that the reported tumors were of donor origin. Time and mode of discovery, as well as graft and patient outcome, were determined. The status of other recipients from the donor was investigated.
Results: A total of 21 donor related malignancies from 14 cadaveric and 3 living donors were reported. Fifteen tumors were donor transmitted and 6 were donor derived. Transmitted tumors are malignancies that existed in the donor at the time of transplantation. Derived tumors are de novo tumors that develop in transplanted donor hematogenous or lymphoid cells after transplantation. The cadaveric donor related tumor rate is 0.04% (14 of 34,993). The donor related tumor rate among transplanted cadaveric organs is 0.017% (18 of 108,062). Among patients developing donor related malignancies, the overall mortality rate was 38%, with that of transmitted tumors being 46% and derived tumors being 33%. The cadaveric donor related tumor mortality rate is 0.007% (8 of 108,062).
Conclusions: The United States incidence of donor related tumors is extremely small. The donor related tumor death rate is also extremely small, particularly when compared with waiting-list mortality.