Five Year Survival Rates in Blood Cancers Up Across Europe


Five year survival rates for many blood cancers have been rising over the past 15 years in Europe, according to a major registry study by European researchers.

According to EUROCARE-5 researchers led by Milena Sant, MD, from the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy, the two reasons that some disparities continue to exist are the failure to receive the best treatments, and variations in care quality. On the other end, higher survival rates likely coincide with the introduction of rituximab for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia.

The EUROCARE-5 study used data from 30 cancer registries covering all patients aged 15 years or older diagnosed in 20 European countries to compare changes in five-year survival.

The registries comprised data from 1992-2007 and included a total of 560,444 cases that were diagnosed with a range of 11 lymphoid and myeloid malignancies up to 2007 and followed up to December 31, 2008.

They found that from 1997-1999 to 2006-2008, the five-year relative survival increased significantly for most blood cancers. Specifically, the five-year survival rate of:

  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma went from 42.0 percent in the earlier period to 55.4 percent in the later period
  • Follicular lymphoma went from 58.9 percent to 74.3 percent
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia went from 32.3 percent to 54.4 percent
  • Acute promyelocytic leukemia went from 50.1 percent to 61.9 percent
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma went from 75.1 percent to 79.3 percent
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma went from 66.1 percent to 69.0 percent
  • Multiple myeloma/plasmacytoma went from 29.8 percent to 39.6 percent
  • Precursor lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma went from 29.8 percent to 41.1 percent
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (excluding acute promyelocytic leukemia) went from 12.6 percent to 14.8 percent

These survival rates weren't uniform across Europe; rather, they were higher in the United Kingdom and they were lower in southern Europe (including Italy, Malta, and Slovenia).

And although survival rates increased in Eastern Europe, this region still had lower rates than elsewhere on the continent.

"Rituximab and imatinib were approved later and their market uptake was lower in eastern Europe," said Dr. Sant. "The main factors influencing poorer survival for haematological and also solid cancers in eastern Europe include a shortage of public funding, lack of national cancer plans, and inadequate access to up-to-date treatment protocols."

Researchers reported their findings in Lancet Oncology.

Source: Medscape

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