Long-Term Mortality Rates Elevated for Adolescent, Young Adult Leukemia Survivors

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Adolescent and young adult (AYA) leukemia survivors have increased mortality rates, even decades after survival, according to a study published online May 13 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Amy M. Berkman, M.D., from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues assessed long-term outcomes of AYA acute leukemia five-year survivors. The impacts of diagnosis age, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and decade of diagnosis on long-term survival were examined for 1,938 AYA acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) survivors and 2,350 AYA acute myeloid leukemia (AML) survivors diagnosed between 1980 and 2009.

The researchers found that the 10-year survival was 87 and 89 percent for ALL and AML survivors, respectively, and 99 percent for the general population. At up to 30 years of follow-up, survival for AYA leukemia survivors remained below that of the age-adjusted general population. The most common cause of death in early survivorship was primary cancer mortality, while in later decades of follow-up, noncancer causes of death became more prevalent. Significantly worse survival was seen for male versus female AML survivors (survival time ratio, 0.61).

"These patients go through so many challenges during their cancer treatment, and it also appears that they're going through many more challenges during survivorship," a coauthor said in a statement. "For example, the mortality of AML survivors continues to increase many decades posttreatment."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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