Thirty-year study shows childhood CNS survivors face severe risks later in life

1/12/2009

NEW YORK Long-term survivors of childhood central nervous system malignancies remain at risk for death, and are at increasing risk for developing subsequent cancers and chronic medical conditions over time.

Gregory Armstrong, MD, MSCE, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and colleagues collected information on treatment, mortality, chronic medical conditions and neurocognitive functioning from patients for a 30-year study that is now complete.

Researchers found that childhood CNS survivors had a 13% increased risk of fatality than that of the general population. Recurrence or progression of primary disease was the most common cause of death in the first 30 years after diagnosis.

“Continued follow-up will help determine temporal patterns in incidence and late effects as this cohort ages,” the authors wrote. “Modern therapeutic regimens that increasingly use chemotherapy to reduce [radiation therapy] dose or use limited [radiation therapy] fields will likely improve long-term outcomes and minimize the risk of adverse late effects.”

The research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on June 17.

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