Current and future role of double-lung transplantation for bilateral lung cancer

Jeeyeon Lee, Samuel J. Schellenberg, Liam Il Young Chung, Ankit Bharat*, Young Kwang Chae*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Technological advances have progressively enhanced the survival rate of lung transplant recipients and expanded its indications for various diseases, including the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, according to the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, lung cancer constituted a mere 0.1% of the indications for lung transplantation over the past two decades. This statistic has remained stagnant, and numerous lung cancer patients continue to be excluded from lung transplantation candidacy. Contrary to the general exclusion of lung cancer patients from transplantation, the post-transplant survival rate for these patients is not inferior to that of patients with non-cancerous diseases. Furthermore, lung transplantation may offer curative treatment for patients with bilateral lung cancer whose respiratory insufficiency has advanced independently of cancer progression. This review aims to elucidate and examine the role of double lung transplantation (DLT) in bilateral lung cancer. We summarize the established indications for lung transplantation, appropriate histologic or molecular subtypes of lung cancer for transplantation, technical advances to minimize recurrence, post-DLT survival outcomes for lung cancer patients, and related translational research. We suggest that although DLT for bilateral lung cancer presents challenges, it may be considered a potential treatment option in select circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100772
JournalTransplantation Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Bilateral
  • Double lung transplantation
  • Lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Surgery


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