Two die from cancer after organ transplants

At least five people have received organs from a donor who unknowingly had cancer, of which two have died, an incident which head of Rigshospitalet said was “terrible” and “unusual”

Two people have died after receiving organs from a donor who died from an aggressive form of cancer.

A 48-year-old died last month after having a lung transplant, a second patient died shortly after receiving a liver and a third received cancerous kidneys but is still alive.

A total of five individuals have received organs from the donor who unknowingly suffered cancer.

“It’s terrible what happened,” Jannik Hilsted, hospital medical director of Rigshospitalet, told the media. “It’s also very unusual. Our transplant program is 20 years old and we have never before had an incident of transferring cancer via a transplant.”

The organs came from an individual who was declared brain dead after having a stroke and who, according to Rigshospitalet, showed no signs of suffering of suffering from cancer.

Hanne Agerholm, 48, who suffered from a heritable lung disease, received lungs from the donor in August and initially everything went according to plan.

But after several weeks she fell ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called angiosarcoma, which the doctors initially believed Agerholm must have had before the lung transplant.

When another patient who received organs from the donor also developed the cancer, doctors realised the donor must be source and immediately informed the other recipients.