What is known?
Childhood liver cancer is rare, accounting for only 2% of all cancers diagnosed in children under 15 years old. International variations in diagnosis (or incidence) rates and survival have been previously reported but are not well understood.
What is new?
Incidence rates of childhood liver cancer were increasing significantly in Australia and the United States, with a smaller, non-significant increase also found in Ontario. Survival was initially higher in Australia but remained stable over time while survival improved in Canada and the United States. As a result, rates of five-year survival were comparable at around 80% in all three jurisdictions for children diagnosed from 2005 onwards.
What does this mean?
More research is needed to determine why incidence rates of liver cancer in children are increasing. However, the consistency of the increase across the three countries suggests that there are unlikely to be geographic-specific factors. The similarity in survival rates between Canada, the United States and Australia points to equity in the management and treatment for children with liver cancer in each of these countries.
Contact: Danny Youlden
Reference: Di Giuseppe G, Youlden DR, Aitken JF, Pole JD. Pediatric hepatic cancer incidence and survival: 30-year trends in Ontario (Canada), the United States and Australia. Cancer. 2021; 127(5):769-776. (Published online in 2020).