China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan constitute North-East Asia. For reasons of largely shared ethnicity andculture, with various degress of mixed Chinese and Altaic elements, as well as geographical contiguity, they canbe usefully grouped together for studies of chronic disease prevalence and particularly cancer. The fact of problemsshared in common, with increasing disease rates, underlines the necessity for a coordinated approach to researchand development of control measures. To provide a knowledge base, the present review of cancer registrationand epidemiology data was conducted. The most frequent cancers in males of North-East Asia are in the lung,liver and stomach, with considerable geographical and temporal variation in their respective prevalences.However, colorectal cancer is also of increasing importance. In females the breast, together with the lung inChina, the liver in Mongolia and the stomach in Korea and Japan, are most frequent. Variation in risk factorsdepends to a large extent on the local level of economic development but overall the countries of the region facesimilar challenges in achieving effective cancer control.