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Eur J Cancer. 1998 Dec;34(13):2064-7.

Survival and distribution pattern of childhood liver cancer in Taiwan.

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Department of Paediatrics, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan.


Studies of survival and distribution of liver cancer in children are scarce. In this study, using data from the cancer registry of Taiwan, from 1979 to 1992, we identified 377 young patients (0-15 years of age) suffering from liver cancer, coded 155 according to the International Classification of Diseases. Among these patients, 122 were histopathologically proven hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and 43 hepatoblastoma (HB). For survival analysis, we also searched for cases of liver cancer in 0-16 year old children in the Taiwan cancer registry for the period between 1988 and 1992. We found 109 cases with identification numbers and birth dates which allowed our cases to be linked with the death registry of the National Health Department of Taiwan enabling the calculation of 5-year survival rates using actuarial life tables. Between 1979 and 1992, for 122 HCC cases, there was a peak incidence at the age of 1 year, then a decline to a trough at the age of 4 years, after which the number of cases increased to the age of 15 years. After the age of 4 years boys outnumbered the girls by 2:1. 36 (84%) of 43 HB cases were under the age of 5 years and boys tended to outnumber girls by 2.9:1. Between 1988 and 1992, of the 109 patients, 49 were diagnosed histopathologically and 60 patients clinically. Their overall 5-year survival rate was 19%. The 5-year survival rate of the 28 HCC patients was 17%, whereas that of the 17 HB patients was 47%. In conclusion, our epidemiological findings indicate that the HCC distribution among children is different according to age and to some extent sex. The overall 5-year survival rate of children suffering from liver cancer was still unfavourable.

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