This page has been fact-checked by a Doctor of nursing practice specializing in Oncology and has experience working with mesothelioma patients.
Sources of information are listed at the bottom of the article. We make every attempt to keep our information accurate and up-to-date.
Please Contact Us with any questions or comments.
Experts do not currently recommend lung transplantation for mesothelioma patients. They reserve donor organs for benign conditions such as severe COPD, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or interstitial lung disease.
Why Is Lung Transplantation Not an Option for Treating Malignant Mesothelioma?
Organ transplants are one of the most complex medical treatments one can undergo. Surgeons typically only use it for conditions directly related to the affected organ, such as a benign lung condition.
When cancer is involved, there is a higher likelihood that the malignant tumors could grow beyond the lungs and spread to other organs. Cancer is usually still present even when not measurable on imaging studies.
The transplant process is incredibly long and complex, and the likelihood that the mesothelioma will progress during this time period is very likely.
Even if one were to undergo a lung transplant theoretically, the complex surgery and subsequent immunosuppression would lead to further medical issues in a cancer patient. Ultimately, this would lead to a shorter survival time, so transplants for cancer are not recommended or approved.
What Are the Benefits of Lung Transplantation?
For non-cancer-related conditions, a lung transplant can be curative and allow a path to a nearly complete recovery. This includes COPD, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or interstitial lung disease. Right now, it is not a treatment option for those with cancer.
What Are the Drawbacks of Lung Transplantation?
A lung transplant can save or extend a patient’s life when there is a non-cancer-related condition; however, the transplant process is complex with the potential for major complications. The recovery from surgery can be many months, and lifelong immunosuppression can also lead to other medical complications. 
Candidates must go through a rigorous qualification program to ensure an adequate support system, medical compliance, and no other medical condition that would jeopardize the success of a transplant.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Anne Courtney, AOCNP, DNP
Anne Courtney has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has years of oncology experience working with patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer. Dr. Courtney currently works at University of Texas LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes.