Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Diagnosed hematological malignancies in Bangladesh - a retrospective analysis of over 5000 cases from 10 specialized hospitals

Mohammad Sorowar Hossain1*, Mohd S Iqbal132*, Mohiuddin Ahmed Khan3, Mohammad Golam Rabbani4, Hazera Khatun5, Sirajam Munira4, M Morshed Zaman Miah6, Amin Lutful Kabir7, Naima Islam8, Tashmim Farhana Dipta9, Farzana Rahman10, Abdul Mottalib9, Salma Afrose3, Tasneem Ara3, Akhil Ranjan Biswas3, Mizanur Rahman3, AKM Mustafa Abedin12, Mahbubur Rahman8, ABM Yunus1011, Louis W Niessen142 and Tanvira Afroze Sultana9*

Author Affiliations

1 BRAC University, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2 Centre for Control of Chronic Diseases, icddr’b, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh

3 Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

4 Chittagong Medical College and Hospital, Chittagong, Bangladesh

5 Square Hospital Ltd, Dhaka, Bangladesh

6 Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, Rajshahi, Bangladesh

7 Delta Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

8 National Institute for Cancer Research and Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

9 BIRDEM General Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

10 Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

11 Green View Clinic, Dhaka, Bangladesh

12 Combined Military Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh

13 Centre for Nutrition and Food Security, icddr,b, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh

14 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:438  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-438

Published: 14 June 2014



The global burden from cancer is rising, especially as low-income countries like Bangladesh observe rapid aging. So far, there are no comprehensive descriptions reporting diagnosed cancer group that include hematological malignancies in Bangladesh.


This was a multi-center hospital-based retrospective descriptive study of over 5000 confirmed hematological cancer cases in between January 2008 to December 2012. Morphological typing was carried out using the “French American British” classification system.


A total of 5013 patients aged between 2 to 90 years had been diagnosed with malignant hematological disorders. A 69.2% were males (n = 3468) and 30.8% females (n = 1545), with a male to female ratio of 2.2:1. The overall median age at diagnosis was 42 years. Acute myeloid leukemia was most frequent (28.3%) with a median age of 35 years, followed by chronic myeloid leukemia with 18.2% (median age 40 years), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (16.9%; median age 48 years), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (14.1%; median age 27 years), multiple myeloma (10.5%; median age 55 years), myelodysplastic syndromes (4.5%; median age 57 years) and Hodgkin’s lymphoma (3.9%; median age 36 years). The least common was chronic lymphocytic leukemia (3.7%; median age 60 years). Below the age of 20 years, acute lymphoblastic leukemia was predominant (37.3%), followed by acute myeloid leukemia (34%). Chronic lymphocytic leukemia and multiple myeloma had mostly occurred among older patients, aged 50-over.


For the first time, our study presents the pattern and distribution of diagnosed hematological cancers in Bangladesh. It shows differences in population distributions as compared to other settings with possibly a lower presence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. There might be under-reporting of affected women. Further studies are necessary on the epidemiology, genetics and potential environmental risk factors within this rapidly aging country.

AML; CML; ALL; MDS; NHL; HL; MM; Hematological malignancy; Bangladesh