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Transplantation of organs from deceased donors with cancer

Transplantation of organs from deceased donors with cancer 


24 April 2014


NKF recieved the following letter from SaBTO 


Dear Colleague,


Transplantation of organs from deceased donors with cancer or a history of cancer


We would like to bring to your notice advice just published by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO).  SaBTO has reviewed the use of organs for transplantation from donors with cancer or a history of cancer, and drawn up evidence-based recommendations to guide decision making.  We believe this will be of interest to your members.


People with cancer are not usually considered as potential organ donors because of the risk of transmitting the malignancy. The risk varies widely, however, depending on the nature of the cancer in question.  In certain circumstances it may still be possible to carry out the wishes of this group of donors, and there is value in evidence-based guidance which transplant surgeons can use when deciding whether it would be to their patient’s benefit to accept an organ from a donor with cancer. 


SaBTO’s Working Group reviewed the literature and also analysed data from the UK National Transplant Registry relating to the outcomes of transplants from donors with a history of cancer.  Based on this evidence, they have categorised a number of cancers according to their risk of transmission to an organ recipient, and drawn up a series of recommendations.   


We are keen to make SaBTO’s findings and advice widely known, so that patients and transplant practitioners can benefit from them.  We would be grateful for your help in bringing them to the notice of your members. SaBTO’s report and recommendations have been published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transplantation-of-organs-from-donors-with-a-history-of-cancer.


Thank you in advance for your help.


Yours sincerely,



Professor John Forsythe                   

Chair, SaBTO



Professor John Dark                                                  Professor Chris Watson

       Co-Chairs, SaBTO Donor / Organ Risk Assessment Working Group