Purpose: Therapeutic radiation in childhood cancer has decreased over time with a concomitant increase in chemotherapy. Limited data exist on chemotherapy-associated subsequent malignant neoplasm (SMN) risk.
Patients and methods: SMNs occurring > 5 years from diagnosis, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers, were evaluated in survivors diagnosed when they were < 21 years old, from 1970 to 1999 in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (median age at diagnosis, 7.0 years; median age at last follow-up, 31.8 years). Thirty-year SMN cumulative incidence and standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were estimated by treatment: chemotherapy-only (n = 7,448), chemotherapy plus radiation (n = 10,485), radiation only (n = 2,063), or neither (n = 2,158). Multivariable models were used to assess chemotherapy-associated SMN risk, including dose-response relationships.
Results: Of 1,498 SMNs among 1,344 survivors, 229 occurred among 206 survivors treated with chemotherapy only. Thirty-year SMN cumulative incidence was 3.9%, 9.0%, 10.8%, and 3.4% for the chemotherapy-only, chemotherapy plus radiation, radiation-only, or neither-treatment groups, respectively. Chemotherapy-only survivors had a 2.8-fold increased SMN risk compared with the general population (95% CI, 2.5 to 3.2), with SIRs increased for subsequent leukemia/lymphoma (1.9; 95% CI, 1.3 to 2.7), breast cancer (4.6; 95% CI, 3.5 to 6.0), soft-tissue sarcoma (3.4; 95% CI, 1.9 to 5.7), thyroid cancer (3.8; 95% CI, 2.7 to 5.1), and melanoma (2.3; 95% CI, 1.5 to 3.5). SMN rate was associated with > 750 mg/m2 platinum (relative rate [RR] 2.7; 95% CI, 1.1 to 6.5), and a dose response was observed between alkylating agents and SMN rate (RR, 1.2/5,000 mg/m2; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.3). A linear dose response was also demonstrated between anthracyclines and breast cancer rate (RR, 1.3/100 mg/m2; 95% CI, 1.2 to 1.6).
Conclusion: Childhood cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy only, particularly higher cumulative doses of platinum and alkylating agents, face increased SMN risk. Linear dose responses were seen between alkylating agents and SMN rates and between anthracyclines and breast cancer rates. Limiting cumulative doses and consideration of alternate chemotherapies may reduce SMN risk.