Survival outcomes for cancer types with the highest death rates for adolescents and young adults, 1975-2016

Cancer. 2021 Nov 15;127(22):4277-4286. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33793. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Abstract

Background: Five-year relative survival for adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer diagnosed at the ages of 15 to 39 years is 85%. Survival rates vary considerably according to the cancer type. The purpose of this study was to analyze long-term survival trends for cancer types with the highest mortality among AYAs to determine where the greatest burden is and to identify areas for future research.

Methods: Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry and the National Center for Health Statistics, the authors examined the incidence, mortality, and survival for the 9 cancer types with the highest mortality rates in this age group from 1975 to 2016. JPSurv, new survival trend software, was used in the analysis.

Results: Results suggested significant improvements in 5-year relative survival for brain and other nervous system tumors, colon and rectum cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (all P values < .05). Limited or no improvement in survival was found for female breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and bone and joint sarcomas.

Conclusions: Five-year relative survival for multiple cancer types in AYAs has improved, but some common cancer types in this group still show limited survival improvements (eg, ovarian cancer). Survival improvements in colorectal cancer have been overshadowed by its rising incidence, which suggests a substantial disease burden. Future research should focus on female breast, bone, ovarian, and cervical cancers, which have seen minimal or no improvements in survival.

Lay summary: Survival trends for adolescents and young adults with cancer are presented from a 40-year period. Although survival progress is noted for brain cancer, lung cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and colon and rectum cancer, the incidence of colon and rectum cancer remains high. Minimal progress is evident for female breast, bone, ovarian, and cervical cancers, which are in need of renewed focus.

Keywords: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER); adolescent and young adult; cancer; epidemiology; survival trends; survivorship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Registries
  • SEER Program
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult