Survival improves for AYAs with leukemia and lymphoma


New research suggests adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with leukemias and lymphomas are living longer than such patients did 2 decades ago.

However, their survival still lags behind survival in children. It even lags behind survival in older adults in the case of acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML).

Investigators reported these findings online August 24 ahead of the November 1 print edition of Cancer.

Dianne Pulte, MD, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and colleagues analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database to determine survival rates of young people with Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), AML, and chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML).

They compared data from 1981–1985 with data from 2001–2005.

The investigators found that survival had improved significantly in each of the 5 malignancies. For AYAs with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 10-year survival increased from 80.4% to 93.4%. For those with NHL, it increased from 55.6% to 76.2%; for those with ALL, from 30.5% to 52.1%; for those with AML, from 15.2% to 45.1%; and for those with CML, from 0% to 74.5%.

They analyzed the data further and found that the survival rate for young people with the lymphomas or CML had improved steadily over the 2 decades. And the survival rate was stable for patients with the acute leukemias during the late 1990s and early 21st century.

However, they found that survival in AYAs is still not as good as the survival rate for children with these hematologic malignancies, with the exception of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. And survival in AYAs with AML lags behind survival in older adults.

The investigators acknowledge that improving survival rates for the AYA population is a major challenge. Dr Pulte suggests that “more research into how to treat these diseases and how to make sure that all patients have access to the best treatment is needed.”

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