Early and late deaths after elective end of therapies for childhood cancer in Italy

Riccardo Haupt, M. Grazia Valsecchi, Daniela Silvestri, Paola De Lorenzo, Silvio Napoli, Giuseppe Masera, Benedetto Terracini, Momcilo Jankovic

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The first cohort of subjects treated for cancer during childhood is now entering adulthood, and it is necessary to determine whether treatment has been sufficient to completely eradicate the neoplastic clone, and whether the cancer itself or treatment-related toxicity may have increased the risk of premature death. For these reasons, long-term survival and causes of death were evaluated in a cohort of subjects treated for childhood cancer who reached the elective end of therapy in continuous remission and were registered until 1992 in the Italian Registry of off-therapy subjects (OTR). The vital status of OTR subjects was ascertained in 1996 by a postal survey through census bureaux; for deceased subjects, the cause of death was defined and compared with the expected rates in the general population. At follow-up, out of 6402 eligible and evaluable subjects, 890 were found to have died; the estimated overall survival at 20 years was 80.7% (95% CI 79.3-82.1). Most of the patients (84.6%) died due to recurrence of the primary cancer, usually within the first 5 years after the OT. The cumulative incidence of death due to recurrence of the primary tumor was greater among subjects treated for solid tumor than among those treated for leukemia/lymphoma (p = 0.0001); in contrast, OT subjects after leukemia and lymphoma were more likely to die due to of medical complications of therapy (p <0.02). Second cancers were the second most frequent cause of death, with a 12-fold risk compared with the general population; the figures were similar in the 2 cancer groups. Compared with the general population, OT subjects were 32 times more likely than same- age subjects to die. The SMR decreased to 6.1 when only non-cancer deaths were considered. Deaths due to external or avoidable causes occurred among survivors at a rate similar to that of the general population. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-398
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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