This may sound like a strange question. But could a Cancerous cell be transferred from one person to another from Oral contact e.g. Through Saliva, or other exchange of bodily fluids? I know that other diseases from Bacteria / Viral can be transferred in this way, but does the same apply to Cancerous cells? - or would the recipient's body just breakdown and destroy the cancerous cells?

  • $\begingroup$ have you done any research on the topic on your own? simple googling might give an answer $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ Possible only if they share the exactly same HLA types. In other words, it is almost impossible. It is taboo that researchers culture cells from their own tissues and experimentally transform the cells to get cancer phenotype. Such transformed cells could grow when the researchers accidentally contact them because rejection would not occur. But, I think oral contact would be safer than wounds. $\endgroup$
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    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 23:10

2 Answers 2


Although transmissible cancer has been found in some species, such as Tasmanian Devils and clams, it is quite rare in most species. Certain viral and bacterial agents that cause cancer, however, can be transmitted. One example is HPV, which can cause cervical cancer


Cancer is successful at killing it's victims because it is genetically still very similar to the host. The immune system does not respond to it sufficiently to eradicate the mutated cells and this allows it to grow out of control.

When dealing with any kind of transmittal this would be close to an organ donation. Without a very close match, and Immunosuppressants the body will "reject" any cancer cells, and wipe them out. Saying this here have been freak incidents where in an organ transplant scenario, cancer was transmitted.


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