Childhood Cancer Incidence and Survival 2003-2005, Thailand: Study from the Thai Pediatric Oncology Group


Background: Previous population-based incidences of childhood cancer in Thailand were achieved by extrapolating from data limited to a small number of cancer registries, not from the whole country. In addition, survival of childhood cancer patients is often described in specialized hospitals and/or institutions, but not in the general population.
Methods: All children aged 0–15 years who were newly diagnosed as having cancer were registered from 18 treatment centers during 2003-5 and classified into 12 diagnostic groups according to the International Classification of Childhood Cancer. Incidences were calculated by a standard method and survival was investigated using the ThaiPOG (Thai Pediatric Oncology Group) population-based registration data. Overall survival was calculated by the Kaplan Meier method.
Results: In the study period (2003-5) 2,792 newly diagnosed cases of childhood cancer were registered, with mean and median ages of 6.5 (SD=0.13) and 5.0 (0-14) years, respectively. The age-peak was between 1 and 4 years and the age-standardized rate (ASR) was 74.9 per million. Leukemia was the most common cancer (N=1421, ASR 38.1) followed by lymphoma (N=266, ASR 6.4) and neoplasms of the central nervous system (CNS, N=246, ASR 6.3). The follow-up duration totaled 101,250 months. The death rate was 1.11 per 100 person-months (95%CI: 1.02 -1.20). The 5-year overall survival was 54.9% (95%CI: 53.0%-56.9%) for all cancers. The respective, 5-year overall survival for (1) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), (2) acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia (ANLL), (3) lymphoma, (4) retinoblastoma, (5) renal tumors, (6) liver tumors, (7) germ cell tumors, (8) CNS tumors, (9) neuroblastoma, (10) soft tissue tumors and (11) bone tumors were (1) 64.5%, (2) 35.1%, (3) 59.5%, (4) 73.1%, (5) 70.4%, (6) 44.5%, (7) 70.6%, (8) 41.7%, (9) 33.6%, (10) 50.1%, and (11) 33.7%.
Conclusions: The incidence of childhood cancer is lower than in western countries. Respective overall survival for ALL, lymphoma, renal tumors, liver tumors, retinoblastoma, soft tissue tumors is lower than those reported in developed countries while for CNS tumors, neuroblastoma and germ cell tumors the figures are comparable.