Childhood cancer incidence and survival in Japan and England: A population-based study (1993-2010)

Kayo Nakata*, Yuri Ito, Winnie Magadi, Audrey Bonaventure, Charles Stiller, Kota Katanoda, Tomohiro Matsuda, Isao Miyashiro, Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Bernard Rachet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The present study aimed to compare cancer incidence and trends in survival for children diagnosed in Japan and England, using population-based cancer registry data. The analysis was based on 5192 children with cancer (age 0-14 years) from 6 prefectural cancer registries in Japan and 21 295 children diagnosed in England during 1993-2010. Differences in incidence rates between the 2 countries were measured with Poisson regression models. Overall survival was estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Incidence rates for Hodgkin lymphoma, renal tumors and Ewing sarcomas in England were more than twice as high as those in Japan. Incidence of germ cell tumors, hepatic tumors, neuroblastoma and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was higher in Japan than in England. Incidence of all cancers combined decreased in Japan throughout the period 1993 to 2010, which was mainly explained by a decrease in registration of neuroblastoma in infants. For many cancers, 5-year survival improved in both countries. The improvement in survival in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) was particularly dramatic in both countries. However, 5-year survival remained less than 80% in 2005-2008 in both countries for AML, brain tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, malignant bone tumors and neuroblastoma (age 1-14 years). There were significant differences in incidence of several cancers between countries, suggesting variation in genetic susceptibility and possibly environmental factors. The decrease in incidence for all cancers combined in Japan was related to the cessation of the national screening program for neuroblastoma. The large improvement in survival in CML coincided with the introduction of effective therapy (imatinib).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Japanese Pediatric Oncology Research Fellowship of Children’s Cancer Association in Japan in 2014 (to KN) and a Grant-in-aid for Cancer Control Policy from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan (H29-Gantaisaku-Ippan-016 to KN, YI, KK, TM, IM); KP-J’s contribution is supported by the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Cancer Research UK (grant no. C1188/ A4614).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.


  • cancer registry data
  • childhood cancer
  • childhood cancer incidence and survival
  • epidemiology
  • population-based study


Dive into the research topics of 'Childhood cancer incidence and survival in Japan and England: A population-based study (1993-2010)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this