It’s well known that organ transplants can pass infectious diseases from donors to recipients in rare cases. But even more rarely, transplants can transmit cancer, as a new case shows. In what’s being described as an “extraordinary case,” four people in Europe developed breast cancer after they received organs from the same donor, according to a new report. Three of the patients died from the cancer, which underscores the “often-fatal consequences of donor-derived breast cancer,” the authors wrote in their report,

published in the July issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.  The 53-year-old organ donor died from a stroke in 2007, according to the report, written by researchers in the Netherlands and Germany. She had no known medical conditions that would have precluded organ donation, and multiple tests showed no signs of cancer. Doctors transplanted her kidneys, lungs, liver and heart into the donor recipients. (The heart-transplant patient died of unrelated causes shortly after the transplant.) READ MORE