Childhood cancers in Chennai, India, 1990-2001: incidence and survival

Int J Cancer. 2008 Jun 1;122(11):2607-11. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23428.


Childhood cancers (age at diagnosis: 0-14 years) comprise a variety of malignancies, with incidence varying worldwide by age, sex, ethnicity and geography, that provide insights into cancer etiology. A total of 1,334 childhood cancers registered in population-based cancer registry, Chennai, India, during 1990-2001 and categorized by International Classification of Childhood Cancer norms formed the study material. Cases included for survival analysis were 1,274 (95.5%). Absolute survival was calculated by actuarial method. Cox proportional hazard model was used to elicit the prognostic factors for survival. The age-standardized rates for all childhood cancers together were 127 per million boys and 88 per million girls. A decreasing trend in incidence rates with increasing 5-year age groups was observed in both sexes. The top 5 childhood cancers were the same among boys and girls: leukemias, lymphomas, central nervous system neoplasms, retinoblastomas and renal tumors. The highest 5-year absolute survival was observed in Hodgkin's disease (65%) followed by Wilm's tumor (64%), retinoblastomas (48%), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (47%), osteosarcomas (44%), acute lymphoid leukemia and astrocytoma (39%). Multifactorial analysis of age at diagnosis and sex showed no differences in the risk of dying for all childhood cancers. Completeness of treatment and type of hospital combination emerged as a prognostic factor for survival for all childhood cancers together (p < 0.001), acute lymphoid leukemia (p < 0.001) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (p = 0.04). A Childhood Cancer Registry with high-resolution data collection is advocated for in-depth analysis of variation in incidence and survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Leukemia / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Retinoblastoma / epidemiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors