Late effects in adult survivors of childhood cancer: the need for life-long follow-up

Ann Oncol. 2007 Nov;18(11):1898-902. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdm336. Epub 2007 Sep 5.


Background: To assess health status and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in childhood cancer survivors who were not involved in regular long-term follow-up.

Patients and methods: One hundred and twenty-three long-term survivors, median age 33 (19-50) years, follow-up 27 (9-38) years, were recalled to the long-term follow-up clinic. Most of them were treated in the period 1970-1990. Late effects were graded using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 3 (CTCAEv3). HRQoL was assessed by RAND-36. Socio-economic factors were compared with data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Results: Grade 1-2 late effects were found in 54% of the survivors, grade 3-4 in 39%, two or more late effects in 70% and grade 2-4 previously unknown late effects in 33%. Survivors had significantly lower scores on RAND-36 compared with controls.

Conclusions: As nearly 40% of these long-term childhood cancer survivors suffer from moderate to severe late effects and 33% had previously unknown late effects it is worthwhile recalling these patients to follow-up. Where and by whom this follow-up can best be done is still a question that needs to be answered.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Netherlands
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Probability
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Time Factors