Incidence and survival for childhood cancer by endorsed non-stage prognostic indicators in Australia

What is known?

There are important factors (besides stage at diagnosis) that can affect a child’s chances of surviving cancer. In 2020, experts from around the world agreed on a list of 15 characteristics called “non-stage prognostic indicators” (NSPIs) that they recommend cancer registries collect. These indicators focus on key patient and tumour characteristics for eight types of childhood cancer.

What did we do?

Information on the recommended NSPIs has been collected in the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry for patients diagnosed from 2010 onwards. In this paper, we report on the numbers of children who have the various characteristics of interest, and estimate their five-year survival.

What is new?

This is the first time information on childhood cancer NSPIs has been analysed and reported at the whole of population level anywhere in the world. Our findings showed the characteristics associated with a poorer prognosis tended to be in the minority for most, but not all, of the 15 NSPIs. The results also pointed out certain groups of patients with much lower five-year survival, such as those with high-grade astrocytoma, neuroblastoma with a genetic alteration known as “n-myc amplification”, and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia diagnosed in infancy (under 1 year old).

What does this mean?

Our findings show, for most Australian children with a relevant cancer, information about NSPIs can be obtained from their medical records, particularly for those diagnosed more recently. This paves the way for NSPI information to be collected in cancer registries in other countries. Having access to data on NSPIs is important because it enables a more complete assessment of variations in childhood cancer survival within specific groups of patients. In turn, this improves the ability to understand and explain local and global differences in childhood cancer survival.

Contact: Danny Youlden

Reference: Youlden DR, Gupta S, Frazier AL, Moore AS, Gottardo NG, Aitken JF. Incidence and survival for childhood cancer by endorsed non-stage prognostic indicators in Australia. Pediatr Blood Cancer. In press [Accepted 14 Jan 2024].