Leukaemia incidence and survival in children and adolescents in Europe during 1978–1997. Report from the Automated Childhood Cancer Information System project


      Leukaemias constitute approximately one-third of cancers in children (age 0–14 years) and 10% in adolescents (age 15–19 years). Geographical patterns (1988–1997) and time trends (1978–1997) of incidence and survival from leukaemias in children (n = 29,239) and adolescents (n = 1929) were derived from the ACCIS database, including data from 62 cancer registries in 19 countries across Europe. The overall incidence rate of leukaemia in children was 44 per million person-years during 1988–1997. Lymphoid leukaemia (LL) accounted for 81%, acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia (ANLL) for 15%, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) for 1.5% and unspecified leukaemia for 1.3% of cases. Adjusted for sex and age, incidence of childhood LL was significantly lower in the East and higher in the North than in the British Isles. The overall incidence among adolescents was 22.6 per million person-years. The incidence of LL was rising in children (0.6% per year) and adolescents (1.9% per year).
      During 1988–1997 5-year survival of children with leukaemias was 73% (95% CI 72–74) and approximately 44% for infants and adolescents. Similar differences in survival between children and adolescents were observed for LL, much less so for ANLL. Survival differed between regions; prognosis was better in the North and West than the East. Remarkable improvements in survival occurred in most of the subgroups of patients defined by diagnostic subgroup, age, sex and geographic categories during the period 1978–1997. For children with ANLL most improvements in survival were observed in the 1990s.


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