Cancer cure for 32 cancer types: results from the EUROCARE-5 study

Int J Epidemiol. 2020 Oct 1;49(5):1517-1525. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa128.


Background: Few studies have estimated the probability of being cured for cancer patients. This study aims to estimate population-based indicators of cancer cure in Europe by type, sex, age and period.

Methods: 7.2 million cancer patients (42 population-based cancer registries in 17 European countries) diagnosed at ages 15-74 years in 1990-2007 with follow-up to 2008 were selected from the EUROCARE-5 dataset. Mixture-cure models were used to estimate: (i) life expectancy of fatal cases (LEF); (ii) cure fraction (CF) as proportion of patients with same death rates as the general population; (iii) time to cure (TTC) as time to reach 5-year conditional relative survival (CRS) >95%.

Results: LEF ranged from 10 years for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients to <6 months for those with liver, pancreas, brain, gallbladder and lung cancers. It was 7.7 years for patients with prostate cancer at age 65-74 years and >5 years for women with breast cancer. The CF was 94% for testis, 87% for thyroid cancer in women and 70% in men, 86% for skin melanoma in women and 76% in men, 66% for breast, 63% for prostate and <10% for liver, lung and pancreatic cancers. TTC was <5 years for testis and thyroid cancer patients diagnosed below age 55 years, and <10 years for stomach, colorectal, corpus uteri and melanoma patients of all ages. For breast and prostate cancers, a small excess (CRS < 95%) remained for at least 15 years.

Conclusions: Estimates from this analysis should help to reduce unneeded medicalization and costs. They represent an opportunity to improve patients' quality of life.

Keywords: Cancer cure; Europe; life expectancy; mixture cure models; population-based cancer registries; survival; time to cure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Melanoma*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries
  • Skin Neoplasms*
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult