All childhood cancer facts below are for U.S. children from birth through 19 years old unless stated otherwise. This summary relies on the most recent published data with respect to its contents, some of which dates back one or more years.
Since 1980, only four drugs have been approved in the first instance for use in children. Three, teniposide (1980), clofarabine (2004), and tisagenlecleucel (2017) are used in the treatment of ALL. The third, dinutuximab was approved in 2015 for use in high-risk neuroblastoma. From 1980 to early 2017, 11 total drugs, consisting of the four above and a few others first approved for use by adults (most recently pembrolizumab and avelumab, along with others such as imatinib, daunorubicin, methotrexate, PEG-formulated asparaginase, and binotumomab have been approved for use in children with cancer – compared with hundreds of drugs that have been developed specifically for adults only. Equally important, for many of the childhood cancers, the same treatments that existed in the 1970’s continue with few, if any, changes (7)
Pediatric Cancer 5-Year Observed Survival Rates for 2 Time Periods, Ages Birth to 19 Years (1) The table below contrasts the estimated 5-year survival rates for various types of childhood cancers for the 1975-1979 and 2003-2009 time periods. It should be noted the survival rates listed below reflect general rates and in no way are a representation of an anticipated actual survival outcome for any individual child.