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Childhood leukaemias and lymphomas in Greece (1996-2006): a nationwide registration study
  1. Eleni Th. Petridou (epetrid{at}med.uoa.gr)
  1. Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece
    1. Apostolos Pourtsidis
    1. Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Pan.&Agl. Kyriakou Children's Hospital Athens, Greece
      1. Nick Dessypris
      1. Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece
        1. Konstantinos Katsiardanis
        1. Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece
          1. Margarita Baka
          1. Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Pan.&Agl. Kyriakou Children's Hospital Athens, Greece
            1. Maria Moschovi
            1. �Aghia Sophia� General Children's Hospital, Greece
              1. Sofia Polychronopoulou
              1. Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, �Aghia Sophia� General Children's Hospita, Greece
                1. Dimitrios Koliouskas
                1. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Department, Hippokration Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
                  1. Vasiliki Sidi
                  1. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Department, Hippokration Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
                    1. Fani Athanasiadou-Piperopoulou
                    1. 2nd Department of Pediatrics, Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki, AHEPA General Hospital, Greece
                      1. Maria Kalmanti
                      1. Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Greece
                        1. Maria Belechri
                        1. Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece
                          1. Carlo La Vecchia
                          1. Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche �Mario Negri�, Milan, Italy
                            1. Maria P. Curado
                            1. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
                              1. Ilias Skalkidis
                              1. Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece

                                Abstract

                                Background: Monitoring time trends in the incidence of childhood leukaemias and lymphomas requires a well functioning and continuously data collecting system. In countries missing official cancer registries, like Greece, ad hoc nationwide registration of incident childhood leukaemias and lymphomas could provide a useful tool also for the elucidation of underlying etiology and monitoring socioeconomic differentials in health care delivery.

                                Methods: We registered all cases and produced age-, gender-, type- and immunophenotype-specific figures as well as overall crude and age adjusted annual incidence rates and secular trends for 863 leukaemia and 311 lymphoma incident cases diagnosed in children under 15 years across Greece during 1996-2006, namely the first 11 years of the Nationwide Registry for Childhood Hematological Malignancies (NaReCHeM).

                                Results: The epidemiological profile of leukaemias/lymphomas in Greece is in line with those noted in industrialized countries. No secular trends are observed for either malignancy during the studied period. The calculated incidence for leukaemia (46.60 cases per 1 million children annually), however, is among the highest in the EU-27 (19% higher than average; p< 0.0001), a finding unlikely to be explained by registration artefacts. By contrast, the calculated incidence for lymphoma (16.8 cases per 1 million children annually) is around the EU-27 average.

                                Conclusions: Minimal secular changes of childhood leukaemias/lymphomas have been noted recently, in EU-27, which cannot be easily interpretable in countries of relatively small population size.Therefore, enrichment of centralized EU databases such as the Automated Childhood Cancer Information System (ACCIS) should be encouraged to generate sufficient statistical power for monitoring time trends. It is of interest, however, to further explore whether the variant lifestyle patterns across EU population groups might be responsible for the observed excess leukaemia incidence in countries, such as Greece.

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