Radiation therapy and late mortality from second sarcoma, carcinoma, and hematological malignancies after a solid cancer in childhood

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Jun 1;80(2):339-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Jun 18.


Purpose: To compare patterns of long-term deaths due to secondary carcinomas, sarcomas, and hematological malignancies occurring after childhood cancer in a cohort of patients followed over a median of 28 years.

Methods and materials: The study included 4,230 patients treated at eight institutions, who were at least 5-year survivors of a first cancer, representing 105,670 person-years of observation. Complete clinical, chemotherapeutic, and radiotherapeutic data were recorded, and the integral radiation dose was estimated for 2,701 of the 2,948 patients who had received radiotherapy. The integral dose was estimated for the volume inside the beam edges. The causes of death obtained from death certificates were validated.

Results: In total, 134 events were due to second malignant neoplasm(s) (SMN). We found that the standardized mortality ratio decreased with increasing follow-up for second carcinomas and sarcomas, whereas the absolute excess risk (AER) increased for a second carcinoma but decreased for second sarcomas. There was no clear variation in SMN and AER for hematological malignancies. We found a significant dose-response relationship between the radiation dose received and the mortality rate due to a second sarcoma and carcinoma. The risk of death due to carcinoma and sarcoma as SMN was 5.2-fold and 12.5-fold higher, respectively, in patients who had received a radiation dose exceeding 150 joules.

Conclusions: Among patients who had received radiotherapy, only those having received the highest integral radiation dose actually had a higher risk of dying of a second carcinoma or sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / mortality*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Risk
  • Sarcoma / mortality*
  • Survivors
  • Young Adult