Incidence of Neoplasia in Pigs and Its Relevance to Clinical Organ Xenotransplantation

Academic Article


  • As clinical pig organ xenotransplantation draws closer, more attention is being paid to diseases that affect pigs and those that provide a potential risk to human recipients of pig organs. Neoplasia arising from the pig organ graft is one such concern. Various tumors and other neoplastic diseases are well known to show increased incidence in organ allotransplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy. Whether this effect will prove to be the case after xenotransplantation has not yet been established. Malignant tumors in young pigs are rare, with lymphosarcoma, nephroblastoma, and melanoma being the most common. The combination of noninvasive techniques and intraoperative examination of the pig organ likely will readily confirm that a pig organ graft is tumor-free before xenotransplantation. Posttransplantion lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a concern after allotransplantation, but the incidence after solid organ allotransplantation is low when compared with hematopoietic cell allotransplantation (for example, bone marrow transplantation), unless immunosuppressive therapy is particularly intensive. Organ-source pigs used for clinical xenotransplantation will be bred and housed under designated pathogen-free conditions and will be free of the γ-herpesvirus that is a key factor in the development of PTLD in pigs. Therefore if a recipient of a pig xenograft develops PTLD, it will almost certainly be of recipient origin. The increasing availability of organs from pigs genetically-engineered to protect them from the human immune response likely will diminish the need for intensive immunosuppressive therapy. Considering the low incidence of malignant disease in young pigs, donor-derived malignancy is likely to be rare in patients who receive pig organ grafts. However, if the graft remains viable for many years, the incidence of graft malignancy may increase.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jagdale A; Iwase H; Klein EC; Cooper DK
  • Start Page

  • 86
  • End Page

  • 94
  • Volume

  • 69
  • Issue

  • 2