Patterns of childhood cancer incidence and mortality in Europe

Fabio Levi, Carlo La Vecchia, Franca Lucchini, Eva Negri, Peter Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Histograms including age-standardised (0-14 years, world standard) incidence and mortality rates from selected childhood cancers are presented for 21 European cancer registration areas and 24 countries. The overall range of variation in all childhood cancer incidence rates across various cancer registration areas in Europe was around a factor 1.5, with highest rates in Spain, Italy, Sweden and France, and lowest rates in Poland, Hungary, UK, Germany and Yugoslavia. For most single cancer sites, however, the observed pattern is essentially attributable to random variation alone. A clearer pattern, however, emerged with reference to mortality. The overall range of variation, in fact, was around a factor two in both sexes, with highest rates in Bulgaria, Portugal, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and the lowest rates in Austria, UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Finland. Trends in mortality from childhood cancers between 1950 and 1989 were also presented. Recent declines were observed for total childhood cancer mortality, leukaemias, kidney cancer (Wilms' tumours), Hodgkin's disease and other lymphomas in most European countries. These declines, however, were generally earlier and larger in northern as compared with southern and, mostly, with eastern European countries. This pattern of trends likely reflects the different adoption and impact of newer efficacious therapies of childhood cancer, and hence, confirms that there is ample scope for further reduction in childhood cancer mortality in several eastern and some southern European countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2028-2049
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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