Lung Cancer and Lung Transplantation: A Review

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With the increase in the number of lung transplants, it is expected that there will be a corresponding increase in the number of lung cancers reported in these patients. Longevity of the transplant recipients, lung transplantation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a history of smoking, and the increasing age of the lung donors make lung cancer more likely. Nodules and masses seen in chest imaging in lung transplant patients call for work up until a final diagnosis is achieved because there is a high likelihood of a serious infection or malignancy. The presence of a native lung is a major risk factor for lung cancer occurring in the transplant setting. Lung cancer of donor origin is rare. Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma confined to one lung can potentially be treated by transplanting the affected lung. Treatment for patients with lung cancer in the lung transplant setting has to be individualized because of the complexity of their medical problems and multiple medications. Attention needs to be focused on detecting lung cancer early in these patients to achieve a favorable outcome.

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