Cancer cure for 32 cancer types: Results from the EUROCARE-5 study

EUROCARE-5 Working Group

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Background: Few studies have estimated the probability of being cured for cancer patients. This study aims to estimate population-based indicators of cancer cure in Europe by type, sex, age and period. Methods: 7.2 million cancer patients (42 population-based cancer registries in 17 European countries) diagnosed at ages 15-74 years in 1990-2007 with follow-up to 2008 were selected from the EUROCARE-5 dataset. Mixture-cure models were used to estimate: (i) life expectancy of fatal cases (LEF); (ii) cure fraction (CF) as proportion of patients with same death rates as the general population; (iii) time to cure (TTC) as time to reach 5-year conditional relative survival (CRS) >95%. Results: LEF ranged from 10 years for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients to <6 months for those with liver, pancreas, brain, gallbladder and lung cancers. It was 7.7 years for patients with prostate cancer at age 65-74 years and >5 years for women with breast cancer. The CF was 94% for testis, 87% for thyroid cancer in women and 70% in men, 86% for skin melanoma in women and 76% in men, 66% for breast, 63% for prostate and <10% for liver, lung and pancreatic cancers. TTC was <5 years for testis and thyroid cancer patients diagnosed below age 55 years, and <10 years for stomach, colorectal, corpus uteri and melanoma patients of all ages. For breast and prostate cancers, a small excess (CRS < 95%) remained for at least 15 years. Conclusions: Estimates from this analysis should help to reduce unneeded medicalization and costs. They represent an opportunity to improve patients' quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1525
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Italian Association of Cancer Research (AIRC, grant number 21879); the European Commission (work programme 2017, grant number 801520 HP-JA-2017 Innovative Partnership for Action Against Cancer'); Compagnia di San Paolo, Italy (grant number 2010.1354); and the Cariplo Foundation, Italy (grant number 2010-1984). The funding sources had no active role in study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing the report or the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s); all rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.


  • Cancer cure
  • Europe
  • Life expectancy
  • Mixture cure models
  • Population-based cancer registries
  • Survival
  • Time to cure


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