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      Outcomes for Children and Adolescents With Cancer: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century

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          This report provides an overview of current childhood cancer statistics to facilitate analysis of the impact of past research discoveries on outcome and provide essential information for prioritizing future research directions.


          Incidence and survival data for childhood cancers came from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 9 (SEER 9) registries, and mortality data were based on deaths in the United States that were reported by states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by underlying cause.


          Childhood cancer incidence rates increased significantly from 1975 through 2006, with increasing rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia being most notable. Childhood cancer mortality rates declined by more than 50% between 1975 and 2006. For leukemias and lymphomas, significantly decreasing mortality rates were observed throughout the 32-year period, though the rate of decline slowed somewhat after 1998. For remaining childhood cancers, significantly decreasing mortality rates were observed from 1975 to 1996, with stable rates from 1996 through 2006. Increased survival rates were observed for all categories of childhood cancers studied, with the extent and temporal pace of the increases varying by diagnosis.


          When 1975 age-specific death rates for children are used as a baseline, approximately 38,000 childhood malignant cancer deaths were averted in the United States from 1975 through 2006 as a result of more effective treatments identified and applied during this period. Continued success in reducing childhood cancer mortality will require new treatment paradigms building on an increased understanding of the molecular processes that promote growth and survival of specific childhood cancers.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Long-term results for children with high-risk neuroblastoma treated on a randomized trial of myeloablative therapy followed by 13-cis-retinoic acid: a children's oncology group study.

          PURPOSE We assessed the long-term outcome of patients enrolled on CCG-3891, a high-risk neuroblastoma study in which patients were randomly assigned to undergo autologous purged bone marrow transplantation (ABMT) or to receive chemotherapy, and subsequent treatment with 13-cis-retinoic acid (cis-RA). PATIENTS AND METHODS Patients received the same induction chemotherapy, with random assignment (N = 379) to consolidation with myeloablative chemotherapy, total-body irradiation, and ABMT versus three cycles of intensive chemotherapy. Patients who completed consolidation without disease progression were randomly assigned to receive no further therapy or cis-RA for 6 months. Results The event-free survival (EFS) for patients randomly assigned to ABMT was significantly higher than those randomly assigned to chemotherapy; the 5-year EFS (mean +/- SE) was 30% +/- 4% versus 19% +/- 3%, respectively (P = .04). The 5-year EFS (42% +/- 5% v 31% +/- 5%) from the time of second random assignment was higher for cis-RA than for no further therapy, though it was not significant. Overall survival (OS) was significantly higher for each random assignment by a test of the log(-log(.)) transformation of the survival estimates at 5 years (P < .01). The 5-year OS from the second random assignment of patients who underwent both random assignments and who were assigned to ABMT/cis-RA was 59% +/- 8%; for ABMT/no cis-RA, it was 41% +/- 8% [corrected]; for continuing chemotherapy/cis-RA, it was 38% +/- 7%; and for chemotherapy/no cis-RA, it was 36% +/- 7%. Myeloablative therapy and autologous hematopoietic cell rescue result in significantly better 5-year EFS than nonmyeloablative chemo therapy; neither myeloablative therapy with [corrected] autologous hematopoietic cell rescue nor cis-RA given after consolidation therapy significantly improved OS.
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            Phase III study of craniospinal radiation therapy followed by adjuvant chemotherapy for newly diagnosed average-risk medulloblastoma.

            To determine the event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival of children with average-risk medulloblastoma and treated with reduced-dose craniospinal radiotherapy (CSRT) and one of two postradiotherapy chemotherapies. Four hundred twenty-one patients between 3 years and 21 years of age with nondisseminated medulloblastoma (MB) were prospectively randomly assigned to treatment with 23.4 Gy of CSRT, 55.8 Gy of posterior fossa RT, plus one of two adjuvant chemotherapy regimens: lomustine (CCNU), cisplatin, and vincristine; or cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and vincristine. Results Forty-two of 421 patients enrolled were excluded from analysis. Sixty-six of the remaining 379 patients had incompletely assessable postoperative studies. Five-year EFS and survival for the cohort of 379 patients was 81% +/- 2.1% and 86% +/- 9%, respectively (median follow-up over 5 years). EFS was unaffected by sex, race, age, treatment regimen, brainstem involvement, or excessive anaplasia. EFS was detrimentally affected by neuroradiographic unassessability. Patients with areas of frank dissemination had a 5-year EFS of 36% +/- 15%. Sixty-seven percent of progressions had some component of dissemination. There were seven second malignancies. Infections occurred more frequently on the cyclophosphamide arm and electrolyte abnormalities were more common on the CCNU regimen. This study discloses an encouraging EFS rate for children with nondisseminated MB treated with reduced-dose craniospinal radiation and chemotherapy. Additional, careful, step-wise reductions in CSRT in adequately staged patients may be possible.
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              Treatment of early childhood medulloblastoma by postoperative chemotherapy alone.

              The prognosis for young children with medulloblastoma is poor, and survivors are at high risk for cognitive deficits. We conducted a trial of the treatment of this brain tumor by intensive postoperative chemotherapy alone. After surgery, children received three cycles of intravenous chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, methotrexate, carboplatin, and etoposide) and intraventricular methotrexate. Treatment was terminated if a complete remission was achieved. Leukoencephalopathy and cognitive deficits were evaluated. Forty-three children were treated according to protocol. In children who had complete resection (17 patients), residual tumor (14), and macroscopic metastases (12), the five-year progression-free and overall survival rates (+/-SE) were 82+/-9 percent and 93+/-6 percent, 50+/-13 percent and 56+/-14 percent, and 33+/-14 percent and 38+/-15 percent, respectively. The rates in 31 patients without macroscopic metastases were 68+/-8 percent and 77+/-8 percent. Desmoplastic histology, metastatic disease, and an age younger than two years were independent prognostic factors for tumor relapse and survival. Treatment strategies at relapse were successful in 8 of 16 patients. There were no major instances of unexpected toxicity. In 19 of 23 children, asymptomatic leukoencephalopathy was detected by magnetic resonance imaging. After treatment, the mean IQ was significantly lower than that of healthy controls within the same age group but higher than that of patients in a previous trial who had received radiotherapy. Postoperative chemotherapy alone is a promising treatment for medulloblastoma in young children without metastases. Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Clinical Oncology
                American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
                May 20 2010
                May 20 2010
                : 28
                : 15
                : 2625-2634
                [1 ]From the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute; Children's Oncology Group, Bethesda; Information Management Services, Silver Spring, MD; and Division of Hematology/Oncology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.
                © 2010


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