The burden of leukemia in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 15 years period (1999-2013)

BMC Cancer. 2019 Jul 17;19(1):703. doi: 10.1186/s12885-019-5897-5.


Background: Leukemia is a malignant neoplasm that arises from hematopoietic cells. The number of leukemia cases has dramatically increased from 297,000 to 437, 033 cases worldwide. As result, the the Saudi Cancer Registry ramked leukemia as the 5th type of cancer cases among both genders in Saudi Arabia. Data on the trend and incidence of leukemnia in Saudi Arabia is lacking. This study aims to report the trend and incidence of leukemia in Saudi Arabia using available data from the Saudi Cancer Registry (SCR), as a population-based cancer registry in the country over a period of 15 years (1999-2013).

Methods: Data of registered leukemia cases between years 1999-2013 were retrieved from the Saudi Council of Health, Saudi Cancer Registry. Data were coded using the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O). Main and essential variables were retrieved such as age, sex, years of incidence, residency, and histopathological type of leukemia.

Results: A total of 8712 cases of leukemia were analyzed in this study, 57.2% were males and 42.8% were females. Around 33.6% of cases were from the central region of Saudi Arabia. The most diagnosed type of leukemia was the Precursor B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (18.7%), followed by Precursor cell lymphoblastic leukemia, NOS (17.3%) with equal percentage of reported cases between males and females in these subsets.

Conclusion: Ove a period of 15 years, the trend of leukemia showed the likelihood of increase in rate particularly in males with highest incidence reported from the central region of Saudi Arabia which needs more investigation. Resources for diagnosis and treatment should be planned with more orientation toward the accurate diagnosis of leukemia to minimize the number of "none specific diagnosis".

Keywords: Burden; Cancer; Incidence; Leukemia; Saudi Arabia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gray Matter
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukemia / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult