Malignant diseases in childhood and adolescence

Cancer is rare in children and adolescents. The probability for a newborn child to develop cancer within the first 18 years of life is 0.3 %. Nevertheless, cancer is the most fatal among childhood diseases and, following accidents, the second most common cause of death in children and adolescents. According to statistical data provided by the German Childhood Cancer Registry, about 2,200 young patients under 18 years of age are newly affected each year. This corresponds to a yearly incidence of 170 new diagnoses per million children in this age group.

Children are not "little adults". Therefore, cancer in the young differs from cancer in adults in many ways. This does not only refer to the type of disease and its incidence, but also the treatment approaches and probability of cure. Hence, carcinomas (tumours of the epithelial tissue) for example, account for 1.5 % and thus are very rare in childhood and adolescence, while in adults, they represent more than 90 % of newly diagnosed malignancies. On the other hand, more than a quarter of children and adolescents with cancer are diagnosed with embryonal tumours; these are tumours arising from extremely immature (undifferentiated) cells and subsequently grow rapidly.

The most frequent malignant diseases in children and adolescents are leukaemias (30 %), followed by tumours of the central nervous system (24 %) and lymphomas, which account for about 14 %. Soft tissue sarcoma (5.7 %), neuroblastoma (5.5 %) and nephroblastoma (Wilms tumour, 4.2 %) are also considered relatively frequent. In general, children and adolescents can be treated more successfully than adults.

The following table of diseases in childhood and adolescence shows which cancer groups relate to which diagnoses and clinical trials.

Disease Brief Information
for Patients
Detailed Information
for Patients
Trials and registries
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) AIEOP-BFM ALL 2017, ALL SCT FORUM Registry 2022, ALLTogether, ALL-REZ Registry, Anti-CD19-ALL, CoALL 2020 Registry, EsPhALL 2017, Interfant Registry, IntReALL HR 2010, IntReAll SR 2010, AIEOP-BFM ALL Registry, ALL SCTped 2012 FORUM
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) AIEOP-BFM-AML 2020, AML‐BFM Registry 2017, ML-DS 2018, AML Relapsed 2010
Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) EWOG-MDS 2006
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma B-NHL 2013, CoALL 2020 Registry, LBL 2018, NHL-BFM Registry 2012
Hodgkin Lymphoma GPOH-HD Study Registry, LEaH-Trial
Brain Tumours
Low Grade Glioma HIT-LOGGIC, LOGGIC-Core
High-Grade Glioma iHIT-HGG Registry, HIT-HGG-2013, HIT-HGG Rez Immunovac
Medulloblastoma / Embryonal CNS tumours / Pineoblastoma I-HIT-MED, SIOP PNET 5 MB
Ependymoma I-HIT-MED, SIOP Ependymoma II
Choroid Plexus Tumours CPT-SIOP-Registry
Rhabdoid tumour (AT/RT) EU-RHAB, SIOPEATRT01
Solid Tumours
Neuroblastoma NB Registry 2016
Wilms tumour (Nephroblastoma) RANDOMET 2017, SIOP 2001 / GPOH, UMBRELLA
Ewing Sarcoma iEuroEwing, iEwing Registry
Osteosarcoma COSS Registry
Soft tissue sarcomas / tumours CWS-SoTiSaR, CWS-2007-HR
Liver tumours Liver tumor registry, PHITT
Retinoblastoma RB-Registry
Rare tumours
Pancreatic tumours Registry Rare Tumours
Throat and larnygeal tumours Registry Rare Tumours
Tumours of the salivary glands Registry Rare Tumours
Blood Diseases