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Int J Cancer. 2000 Nov 15;88(4):672-8.

Second malignant neoplasms after cancer in childhood and adolescence: a population-based case-control study in the 5 Nordic countries. The Nordic Society for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. The Association of the Nordic Cancer Registries.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


Our purpose was to assess the risk of developing a second malignant neoplasm (SMN) after cancer in childhood and adolescence associated with different treatment modalities. Our investigation was performed as a nested case-control study within a Nordic cohort of 25,120 patients younger than 20 years old at first malignant neoplasm (FMN) diagnosed in 1960 through 1987. SMNs were diagnosed in 1960 through 1991. For each case of SMN, 3 controls were sampled, matched by sex, age, calendar year of diagnosis and length of follow-up. For the final analysis, there were 234 cases and 678 controls. Relative risks (RRs) of various exposures were estimated by means of conditional logistic regression, with non-exposed as the reference. The RR of developing SMN in the radiated volume was 4.3 (95% confidence interval 3.0-6.2). The risk was highest in children diagnosed before the age of 5 years; it increased with the dose of radiation and with increasing follow-up time after FMN. Chemotherapy alone was not associated with an increased RR, but it significantly potentiated the effect of radiotherapy. RRs were unchanged between the periods 1960-1973 and 1974-1987, and since the use of chemotherapy increased in the latter period, the number of SMNs may increase. Hereditary factors were important for the occurrence of SMN independently of therapy. We conclude that radiation was the most important treatment-related risk factor for the development of SMN. Chemotherapy appeared to play only an accessory role during the study period, potentiating the carcinogenic effect of radiotherapy.

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