How 1 organ donor transferred breast cancer to 4 recipients

The same organ donor transmitted breast cancer to four different transplant recipients at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, according to a case study published in the American Journal of Transplantation. 

Here are three things to know:

1. The donor had no relevant medical history linked to the outcome of the recipients' transplants. The recipients received the donor's kidneys, lungs, liver and heart. The heart recipient died from sepsis six months after the transplant.

2. The four other recipients developed a similar type of breast cancer 16 months to 6 years after their organ transplants.

3. Three of these recipients died from cancer complications. The fourth is in remission after undergoing chemotherapy.

"This extraordinary case points out the often fatal consequences of donor-derived breast cancer and suggests that removal of the donor organ and restoration of immunity can induce complete remission," the study authors concluded.

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