Transplantation for lung cancer
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent advances have led to improved outcomes in lung transplantation. The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Registry data have shown a steady increase in the number of cases performed annually. Although somewhat controversial, lung transplantation (LTx) for lung cancer has also slowly increased. The current role of LTx for malignant diseases and the management challenge of incidental lung cancer in the explanted lungs are reviewed herein. RECENT FINDINGS: For a few particular scenarios (advanced multifocal bronchioloalveolar carcinoma causing chronic respiratory failure, end-stage lung disease concomitant with early stage lung cancer, and metastatic disease restricted to the lungs with the primary site controlled) in which nonsurgical alternatives fail to provide adequate palliation, LTx may be considered. Nevertheless, in order to achieve acceptable results, careful patient selection and staging are paramount. In patients with incidental bronchogenic carcinoma in the explanted lung following transplantation, the prognosis is mainly driven by the malignancy stage. SUMMARY: LTx can be performed to treat malignant diseases with results approaching those for nonneoplastic indications, given that patients are carefully selected and staged. Although they have not been widely applied in the reported lung transplant literature, modalities such as endobronchial ultrasound and positron emission tomography scan are strongly encouraged and have the potential to further refine staging in this population.
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