Objective: We investigated an apparent increase in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) referrals from northern Georgia to a tertiary care center located in Atlanta.
Methods: Cases reported to the Georgia Comprehensive Cancer Registry and the national Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results cancer registry between 1999 and 2008 were analyzed. Age-adjusted incidence rates were calculated for all of the counties and public health regions and were compared with national rates calculated using Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results 17 data. Cases of adult acute myeloid leukemia served as controls.
Results: Age-adjusted incidence rates of adult ALL (0.8/100,000) and acute myeloid leukemia (4.6/100,000) were comparable to the national rates (0.9 and 5.2, respectively). The age-adjusted incidence rate of ALL in northern Georgia was 1.1 (95% confidence interval 0.8-1.5) and was not affected by race.
Conclusions: The observed increase in cases of ALL at our tertiary center results from a referral pattern rather than heterogeneous distribution of adult ALL across Georgia.