BACKGROUND: More effective treatments have become available for haematological malignancies from the early 2000s, but few large-scale population-based studies have investigated their effect on survival. Using EUROCARE data, and HAEMACARE morphological groupings, we aimed to estimate time trends in population-based survival for 11 lymphoid and myeloid malignancies in 20 European countries, by region and age.
METHODS: In this retrospective observational study, we included patients (aged 15 years and older) diagnosed with haematological malignancies, diagnosed up to Dec 31, 2007, and followed up to Dec 31, 2008. We used data from the 30 cancer registries (across 20 countries) that provided continuous incidence and good quality data from 1992 to 2007. We used a hybrid approach to estimate age-standardised and age-specific 5-year relative survival, for each malignancy, overall and for five regions (UK, and northern, central, southern, and eastern Europe), and four 3-year periods (1997-99, 2000-02, 2003-05, 2006-08). For each malignancy, we also estimated the relative excess risk of death during the 5 years after diagnosis, by period, age, and region.
FINDINGS: We analysed 560 444 cases. From 1997-99 to 2006-08 survival increased for most malignancies: the largest increases were for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (42·0% [95% CI 40·7-43·4] to 55·4% [54·6-56·2], p<0·0001), follicular lymphoma (58·9% [57·3-60·6] to 74·3% [72·9-75·5], p<0·0001), chronic myeloid leukaemia (32·3% [30·6-33·9] to 54·4% [52·5-56·2], p<0·0001), and acute promyelocytic leukaemia (50·1% [43·7-56·2] to 61·9% [57·0-66·4], p=0·0038, estimate not age-standardised). Other survival increases were seen for Hodgkin's lymphoma (75·1% [74·1-76·0] to 79·3% [78·4-80·1], p<0·0001), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (66·1% [65·1-67·1] to 69·0% [68·1-69·8], p<0·0001), multiple myeloma/plasmacytoma (29·8% [29·0-30·6] to 39·6% [38·8-40·3], p<0·0001), precursor lymphoblastic leukaemia/lymphoma (29·8% [27·7-32·0] to 41·1% [39·0-43·1], p<0·0001), acute myeloid leukaemia (excluding acute promyelocytic leukaemia, 12·6% [11·9-13·3] to 14·8% [14·2-15·4], p<0·0001), and other myeloproliferative neoplasms (excluding chronic myeloid leukaemia, 70·3% [68·7-71·8] to 74·9% [73·8-75·9], p<0·0001). Survival increased slightly in southern Europe, more in the UK, and conspicuously in northern, central, and eastern Europe. However, eastern European survival was lower than that for other regions. Survival decreased with advancing age, and increased with time only slightly in patients aged 75 years or older, although a 10% increase in survival occurred in elderly patients with follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and chronic myeloid leukaemia.
INTERPRETATION: These trends are encouraging. Widespread use of new and more effective treatment probably explains much of the increased survival. However, the persistent differences in survival across Europe suggest variations in the quality of care and availability of the new treatments. High-resolution studies that collect data about stage at diagnosis and treatments for representative samples of cases could provide further evidence of treatment effectiveness and explain geographic variations in survival.
FUNDING: Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione Cariplo, European Commission, and Italian Ministry of Health.