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J Clin Oncol. 2012 Oct 20;30(30):3734-45. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.41.8681. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Second malignant neoplasms: assessment and strategies for risk reduction.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


Improvements in early detection, supportive care, and treatment have resulted in an increasing number of cancer survivors, with a current 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined of approximately 66.1%. For some patients, these survival advances have been offset by the long-term late effects of cancer and its treatment, with second malignant neoplasms (SMNs) comprising one of the most potentially life-threatening sequelae. The number of patients with SMNs is growing, with new SMNs now representing about one in six of all cancers reported to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. SMNs reflect not only the late effects of therapy but also the influence of shared etiologic factors (in particular, tobacco and excessive alcohol intake), genetic susceptibility, environmental exposures, host effects, and combinations of factors, including gene-environment interactions. For selected SMNs, risk is also modified by age at exposure and attained age. SMNs can be categorized into three major groups according to the predominant etiologic factor(s): (1) treatment-related, (2) syndromic, and (3) those due to shared etiologic exposures, although the nonexclusivity of these groups should be underscored. Here we provide an overview of SMNs in survivors of adult-onset cancer, summarizing the current, albeit limited, clinical evidence with regard to screening and prevention, with a focus on the provision of guidance for health care providers. The growing number of patients with second (and higher-order) cancers mandates that we also further probe etiologic influences and genetic variants that heighten risk, and that we better define high-risk groups for targeted preventive and interventional clinical strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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