Incidence rates for CNS tumours in children of age 0-14 years in the Region of Lombardy, Italy, during the period 1988-93 were analysed; survival probability updated to December 1995 was also estimated. CNS tumours defined according to the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology codes were actively searched for. CNS tumours were diagnosed in 296 children. The age-standardized rates were 40.0 per million child years for both sexes together, and 45.3 for boys and 34.4 for girls. In all age groups, boys had a higher incidence than girls. The annual incidences were 13.7, 7.0, 5.8 for astrocytoma, medulloblastoma and ependymoma, respectively. The overall survival percentages at 5 and 8 years after diagnosis were 68 and 66, respectively. Prognosis was good for astrocytoma (5-year survival, 81%), and declined in the order: other gliomas (5-year survival, 76%); ependymoma (5-year survival, 62%), and medulloblastoma (5-year survival, 43%). The histological type of the tumour was the most powerful independent predictor of survival in children with a CNS tumour. Medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumours appeared to have the highest risk of a poor prognosis compared with astrocytoma (relative risk, 3.27; 95% confidence interval, 1.81-5.91). Age at diagnosis and sex had no significant effect on survival. The incidence of childhood CNS tumours found in this study is higher than previously reported in Italy, and is one of the highest in the world from population-based data. Survival of children with brain tumours has improved greatly in recent years. These results suggest that children in Lombardy with CNS tumours had a good survival experience compatible with high quality of care.
- Childhood CNS tumours
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