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Open Access Research article

The epidemiology of bone cancer in 0 - 39 year olds in northern England, 1981 - 2002

Rachel Eyre1, Richard G Feltbower2, Peter W James1, Karen Blakey1, Emmanuel Mubwandarikwa1, David Forman345, Patricia A McKinney2, Mark S Pearce1 and Richard JQ McNally1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, England, UK

2 Paediatric Epidemiology Group, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, England, UK

3 Northern and Yorkshire Cancer Registry and Information Service, University of Leeds, Leeds LS9 7TF, England, UK

4 Cancer Epidemiology Group, Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health & Therapeutics, Arthington House, Hospital Lane, Leeds LS16 6QB, England, UK

5 Cancer Information Section, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150, cours Albert Thomas, F-69372, Lyon, Cedex 08, France

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:357  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-357

Published: 6 July 2010

Abstract

Background

There is a paucity of recent epidemiological data on bone cancers. The aim of this study was to describe incidence and survival patterns for bone cancers diagnosed during 1981 - 2002.

Methods

Cases aged 0 - 39 years (236 osteosarcomas, 166 Ewing sarcomas and 73 chondrosarcomas) were analysed using Poisson and Cox regressions.

Results

Incidence rates (per million persons per year) for osteosarcoma were 2.5 at age 0 - 14 years; 4.5 at age 15 - 29 years and 1.0 at age 30 - 39 years. Similarly, for Ewing sarcoma the incidence rates were 2.2; 2.9; 0.4 and for chondrosarcoma rates were 0.1; 1.2; 1.8 respectively. Incidence of osteosarcoma increased at an average annual rate of 2.5% (95% CI 0.4 - 4.7; P = 0.02), but there was no change in incidence of Ewing sarcoma or chondrosarcoma. There was a marginally statistically significant improvement in survival for Ewing sarcoma (hazard ratio (HR) per annum = 0.97; 95% CI 0.94 - 1.00; P = 0.06), although patients aged 15 - 39 years (n = 93) had worse overall survival than those aged 0 - 14 (n = 73; HR = 1.46; 95% CI 0.98 - 2.17; P = 0.06). There was no significant improvement in osteosarcoma survival (HR per annum = 0.98; 95% CI 0.95 - 1.01; P = 0.18).

Conclusions

Reasons for poorer survival in Ewing sarcoma patients aged 15 - 39 years and failure to significantly improve survival for osteosarcoma patients requires further investigation.