We have analysed incidence and survival trends of children and adolescents with leukaemia registered in Spanish population-based cancer registries during the period 1983–2007.
Childhood and adolescent leukaemia cases were drawn from the 11 Spanish population-based cancer registries. For survival, registries with data for the period 1991–2005 and follow-up until 31-12-2010 were included. Overall incidence trends were evaluated using joinpoint analysis. Observed survival rates were estimated using Kaplan–Meier, and trends were tested using the log-rank test.
Based on 2606 cases (2274 children and 332 adolescents), the overall age-adjusted incidence rate (ASRw) of leukaemia was 47.9 cases per million child-years in children and 23.8 in adolescents. The ASRw of leukaemia increased with an annual percentage change of 9.6 % (95 % CI: 2.2–17.6) until 1990 followed by a stabilisation of rates. In adolescents, incidence did not increase. Five-year survival increased from 66 % in 1991–1995 to 76 % in 2001–2005. By age, survival was dramatically lower in infants (0) and adolescents (15−19) than in the other age groups and no improvement was observed. In both children and adolescents, differences in 5-year survival rates among major subgroups of leukaemias were significant.
The increasing incidence trends observed in childhood leukaemias during the study period were confined to the beginning of the period. Remarkable improvements in survival have been observed in Spanish children with leukaemias. However, this improvement was not observed in infants and adolescents.