FDG PET/CT allowing detection and follow-up of tumor cell transplantation

Ann Nucl Med. 2016 Apr;30(3):250-4. doi: 10.1007/s12149-015-1051-x. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


After detection of small cell lung cancer in a 67-year-old patient who had donated a kidney 7 months earlier, the graft recipient underwent FDG-PET/CT to determine the presence/absence of tumor cell transmission. It showed abnormal increased uptake of the renal graft, associated with hypermetabolic lymph nodes and hepatic, pulmonary and bone lesions. Emergency graft resection was performed 5 days after PET/CT, permitting immunosuppressive therapy withdrawal. Pathologic examination of the kidney showed parenchymal infiltration by tumor cells compatible with small cell lung cancer. Thereafter, pathologists proved that the recipient's and donor's tumor cells matched using microsatellite markers. FDG-PET/CT was performed in the follow-up and showed progression in the donor despite chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He died a few months later. However, FDG-PET/CT showed a complete metabolic response after only 3 courses of chemotherapy in the recipient.

Keywords: 18F-FDG PET/CT; Donor cancer transmission; Renal transplantation; Small cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transplantation*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography*
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / therapy*


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18