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Comparative Study
, 19 (9), 1159-1169

Changing Geographical Patterns and Trends in Cancer Incidence in Children and Adolescents in Europe, 1991-2010 (Automated Childhood Cancer Information System): A Population-Based Study

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Comparative Study

Changing Geographical Patterns and Trends in Cancer Incidence in Children and Adolescents in Europe, 1991-2010 (Automated Childhood Cancer Information System): A Population-Based Study

Eva Steliarova-Foucher et al. Lancet Oncol.

Abstract

Background: A deceleration in the increase in cancer incidence in children and adolescents has been reported in several national and regional studies in Europe. Based on a large database representing 1·3 billion person-years over the period 1991-2010, we provide a consolidated report on cancer incidence trends at ages 0-19 years.

Methods: We invited all population-based cancer registries operating in European countries to participate in this population-based registry study. We requested a listing of individual records of cancer cases, including sex, age, date of birth, date of cancer diagnosis, tumour sequence number, primary site, morphology, behaviour, and the most valid basis of diagnosis. We also requested population counts in each calendar year by sex and age for the registration area, from official national sources, and specific information about the covered area and registration practices. An eligible registry could become a contributor if it provided quality data for all complete calendar years in the period 1991-2010. Incidence rates and the average annual percentage change with 95% CIs were reported for all cancers and major diagnostic groups, by region and overall, separately for children (age 0-14 years) and adolescents (age 15-19 years). We examined and quantified the stability of the trends with joinpoint analyses.

Findings: For the years 1991-2010, 53 registries in 19 countries contributed a total of 180 335 unique cases. We excluded 15 162 (8·4%) of 180 335 cases due to differing practices of registration, and considered the quality indicators for the 165 173 cases included to be satisfactory. The average annual age-standardised incidence was 137·5 (95% CI 136·7-138·3) per million person-years and incidence increased significantly by 0·54% (0·44-0·65) per year in children (age 0-14 years) with no change in trend. In adolescents, the combined European incidence was 176·2 (174·4-178·0) per million person-years based on all 35 138 eligible cases and increased significantly by 0·96% (0·73-1·19) per year, although recent changes in rates among adolescents suggest a deceleration in this increasing trend. We observed temporal variations in trends by age group, geographical region, and diagnostic group. The combined age-standardised incidence of leukaemia based on 48 458 cases in children was 46·9 (46·5-47·3) per million person-years and increased significantly by 0·66% (0·48-0·84) per year. The average overall incidence of leukaemia in adolescents was 23·6 (22·9-24·3) per million person-years, based on 4702 cases, and the average annual change was 0·93% (0·49-1·37). We also observed increasing incidence of lymphoma in adolescents (average annual change 1·04% [0·65-1·44], malignant CNS tumours in children (average annual change 0·49% [0·20-0·77]), and other tumours in both children (average annual change 0·56 [0·40-0·72]) and adolescents (average annual change 1·17 [0·82-1·53]).

Interpretation: Improvements in the diagnosis and registration of cancers over time could partly explain the observed increase in incidence, although some changes in underlying putative risk factors cannot be excluded. Cancer incidence trends in this young population require continued monitoring at an international level.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Health of the Federal German Government, the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, and International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Incidence trends of cancer in children aged 0–14 years in Europe, 1991–2010 Jagged thin lines indicate annual age-standardised rates in countries and smooth red thick lines indicate modelled incidence trends in regions.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Overview of observed incidence trends of cancer in children aged 0–14 years for the entire study period and for any time segments identified in joinpoint analysis, by diagnostic group and region of Europe, 1991–2010 Red indicates an increasing trend, blue indicates a decreasing trend, and white indicates no significant trend. Absence of bars indicates no joinpoint was identified for a given category.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Overview of observed incidence trends of cancer in adolescents aged 15–19 years for the entire study period and for any significant time segments identified in joinpoint analysis, by diagnostic group and region of Europe, 1991–2010 Red indicates an increasing trend, blue indicates a decreasing trend, and white indicates no significant trend. Absence of bars indicates no joinpoint was identified for a given category.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Incidence trends of cancer in adolescents aged 15–19 years in Europe, 1991–2010 Jagged thin lines indicate annual age-specific rates in countries and smooth thick red lines indicate modelled incidence trends in regions.

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