Traditionally, patients who die with a malignancy have been excluded from donation. However, it has become a common practice to accept organs from donors that have low-grade tumors or tumors with low metastatic potential. The aim of this study was to analyze our experience with the use of liver grafts from donors with central nervous system (CNS) tumors. A retrospective review of 1173 liver transplants performed between 1992 and 2006 identified 42 donors diagnosed with a CNS tumor. Thirty-two tumors were malignant, and 10 tumors were benign. Forty-two liver transplant recipients received livers from these donors. All patients were followed until May 2007 with a mean follow-up of 29 ± 17 months. Among 42 donors, there were 28 males and 14 females. The mean donor risk index was 1.78 ± 0.39. Twenty (47.6%) of the CNS tumors were glioblastoma multiforme (astrocytoma grade IV), 11 (26.2%) were other astrocytomas, and 1 (2.4%) was an anaplastic ependymoma. Twenty (62.5%) neoplasms were grade IV tumors, 8 (25%) were grade II tumors, and 4 (12.5%) were grade III tumors. Over 80% of the patients had at least 1 kind of invasive procedure violating the blood-brain barrier. The rate of recurrence for the entire group was 2.4% (all CNS tumors). There were 7 (7.2%) deaths in all. The most common cause of death was sepsis (n = 3, 7.2%). There was no difference in survival between recipients of grafts from donors with CNS tumors and recipients of grafts from donors without CNS tumors (1 year: 82% versus 83.3%, P = not significant; 3 years: 77.4% versus 72%, P = not significant). In conclusion, in our experience, despite violation of the blood-brain barrier and high-grade CNS tumors, recurrence was uncommon. Grafts from these donors are often an overlooked source of high-quality organs from younger donors and can be appropriately used, particularly in patients who, despite low Model for End-Stage Liver Disease scores, carry a high risk of mortality.
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