A rethink on organ transplants is needed after a 29 year old patient developed cancer after receiving a liver from a woman who had died from a brain tumour.

The patient died just five months after being given the liver, doctors at Dresden Hospital say. They have proved that the cancer came from the transplanted organ.

The possibility of cancer being transmitted from brain tumour donors could be anything from 12 per cent to 25 per cent, says Dr Patrick Healey from the University of Washinghton Medical Center.

Doctors may have to treat donated organs from braintumour victims differently, possibly reserving them for emergency cases only, he says (Lancet, 1998; 352: 2-3).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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