Major patterns of cancer cure: Clinical implications

Paolo Tralongo, Antonella Surbone, Diego Serraino, Luigino Dal Maso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: This review aimed to classify major patterns of cancer cure and discuss clinical implications. Patterns of cancer cure were identified, in terms of long-term survival and life expectancy, by means of two recently estimated indicators: cure fraction (CF) and time to cure (TTC). Methods: We considered population-based studies reporting results for some cancer types on CF, defined as the proportion of patients who will reach the same life expectancy of the general population, or/and TTC, the time span necessary to experience a negligible excess mortality. TTC is obtained using conditional relative survival, which indicates the probability of surviving an additional y number of years, given that patients already survived x number of years. Results: Four major patterns of cancer types emerged from published studies: (a) cancers with a CF > 60% and a TTC < 5 years (e.g., testicular, thyroid); (b) cancers with a CF between 20% and 50% and a TTC < 10 years (colon, rectum); (c) cancers showing a CF of approximately 50% and TTC > 10 years (breast, prostate and bladder); (d) cancers with a CF < 20% and uncertain TTC (lung or pancreas). Conclusion: Clinical and social impact of “cancer cure” categorisation are discussed in details. Recognising a cancer patient as cured represents an opportunity to improve their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13139
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • cancer cure
  • cancer survivors
  • life expectancy
  • time to cure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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