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The Lancet Oncology: Differences in treatment likely to be behind differing survival rates for blood cancers between regions within Europe
Date:7/13/2014

chronic myeloid leukaemia survival in northern (29% to 60%) and central Europe (34% to 65%) have been persistently higher than in the UK (35% to 56%) and southern Europe (37% to 55%). For more detailed findings for all cancers by European area see table 4 on page 6 and figure 2 on page 6.

The risk of death within 5 years from diagnosis fell significantly for all malignancies except myelodysplastic syndromes between 1997 and 2008. But not all regions have seen such improvements. For example, compared with the UK, the excess risk of death was significantly higher in eastern Europe than in other regions for most of the cancers investigated, but significantly lower in northern Europe. For more detailed findings for all cancers by European area and age see table 5 on page 7.

The authors suggest that the most likely reasons for continuing geographical differences in survival are inequalities in the provision of care and in the availability and use of new treatments.

"We know that rituximab, imatinib, thalidomide, and bortezomib were first made available for general use in Europe in 1997, 2001, 1998, and 2003, respectively. The years following general release of these drugs coincided with large increases in survival for chronic myeloid leukaemia, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and follicular lymphoma; with a smaller but still significant survival increase for multiple myeloma plasmacytoma.", say the authors.

However, they point out that uptake and use of these drugs has not been uniform across Europe. For example, market uptake of rituximab, imatinib, and bortezomib was lower in eastern Europe than elsewhere and might explain the consistently lower survival in this region.

According to Sant, "High resolution studies that use clinical records to collect detailed clinical information for representative samples of cancer registry cases can more directly link treatments and clinical characteristics to survival."

Writing in
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Contact: Dr. Milena Sant
milena.sant@istitutotumori.mi.it
39-022-390-3519
The Lancet
Source:Eurekalert

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