Pediatric renal and thyroid cancer rates increase

1. The overall incidence rate of all cancers in children aged 0 to 19 years remained stable from 2001 to 2009, with leukemia, central nervous system neoplasms, and lymphoma having the highest incidence rates.

2. Renal and thyroid carcinoma incidence increased significantly from 2001 to 2009, while extracranial and extragonadal germ cell tumors and melanoma both significantly decreased.

Study Rundown: Cancer is the leading disease causing death among children and adolescents in the United States.  This study analyzed data from 47 state cancer registries to determine epidemiological trends among pediatric cancers. The overall age-adjusted cancer incidence rate was 171.01 per million persons and remained stable from 2001-2009. Leukemia, central nervous system neoplasms, and lymphoma had the three highest incidence rates, in that order. Renal cell carcinoma and thyroid carcinoma significantly increased in incidence over the study period, while extracranial and extragonadal germ cell tumors and melanoma significantly decreased. Though white children had higher incidence rates of cancer than other races, African American children and adolescents had significantly increasing incidence rates of cancer. This study is limited by the use of multiple databases that may have variations in coding, as well as small sample sizes for subgroup analyses. Nonetheless, physicians may be able to use these trends to identify specific groups at risk for certain cancers.

Click to read the study published today in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Survival variability by race and ethnicity in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

In-Depth [epidemiologic study]: From 2001 to 2009, a total of 120137 primary cancer cases among children and adolescents aged 0 to 19 years were identified using 47 state cancer registries available through the National Program of Cancer Registries and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results. Boys had a higher overall cancer incidence rate than girls (179.63 vs. 161.96 per million persons). The overall adjusted percent change (APC) for all cancers was stable at 0.3% (95% CI -0.1 to 0.7). The incidence rate for renal carcinoma was 0.61 per million persons and significantly increased during the study period (APC 5.4; 95% CI 2.8 to 8.1). The incidence rate for thyroid carcinoma was 6.83 per million persons and also significantly increased during the study period (APC 4.9; 95% CI 3.2 to 6.6). Extracranial and extragonadal germ cell tumors (APC -2.0; 95% CI -3.9 to -0.2) and melanoma (APC -3.8; 95% CI -6.7 to -0.9) significantly decreased during the study period.

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