Epidemiologic Survey of Infantile Cancer in Iran based on the Data of the Largest Pediatric Cancer Referral Center (Ali-Asghar Children Hospital), 1996-2005


Background: Cancer in infants younger than one year of age represents a unique problem with distinctepidemiological, clinical and genetic characteristics compared with older age groups. No report is yet availablefrom Iran regarding epidemiological and survival rate of cancers diagnosed in this age group. Materials and
Methods: The population under study comprised of patients which were diagnosed and admitted to Ali-Asgharhospital between years 1996-2005. In total, 287 infants were included in the retrospective descriptive survey.Patient files were evaluated for age of patient at the time of diagnosis, sex, geographical residence, consanguinityof parents, histological diagnosis, site of cancer involvement, type of therapy, date of last follow-up and cause ofdeath (if applicable).
Results: The average age at the time of diagnosis was 7.2 months old. The most frequentmalignancy was retinoblastoma (44%), followed by leukemia (19%) and neuroblastoma (10%), with five-yearoverall survival rates of 77.7%, 41% and 90%, respectively Parents of 40 infants (13.9%) had consanguinityrelationships.
Conclusions: Although we cannot make any conclusions regarding the incidence of infant cancersubtypes based on this study, survival rates for major types were similar to the developed countries, whichsignifies strict adherence to standards of care in Ali-Asghar hospital, the main infant cancer care centre in Iran.A Childhood Cancer Registry with high-resolution data collection and also advanced genetic testing is advocatedfor in-depth analysis of variation in incidence and survival.