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Trends in Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumor Incidence in U.S., 1998-2013

Posted on December 04, 2018

Female doctor points to computer screen with MRI brain scan, shows to male nurse

Brain and other central nervous system (CNS) cancers are the leading cause of pediatric cancer mortality in the US. A new study published November 21, 2018, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, reports stable incidence rates among children aged 0 to 19 years in the U.S. between 1998 and 2013, though statistically-significant changes were reported for several sub-types.

The findings were based on a total of 18,612 pediatric malignant CNS cancers and 6,856 non-malignant pilocytic astrocytomas reported between 1998 and 2013 to the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. There was no significant change in incidence for all malignant CNS cancers combined. Glioma and pilocytic astrocytoma incidence rates increased by 0.77 percent/year and 0.89 percent/year, respectively; CNS embryonal cancer rates decreased by 0.88 percent/year. Investigators estimated these changes in incidence rates resulted in 120 excess gliomas, 94 excess pilocytic astrocytomas, and 72 fewer embryonal CNS tumors, compared to what would have been expected if rates had remained stable over the time period. Changes in diagnosis and classification methods make it difficult to differentiate whether the modest trends observed in this study are a result of true changes in incidence, or changes in identification, reporting, and classification.

Reference:

Withrow, D et al. Trends in Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumor Incidence in U.S., 1998-2013 Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, Nov 21, 2018. [Epub ahead of print] DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-0784