Fighting childhood cancer. Saving young lives.

31. Charles Stiller


Why do increasing numbers of childhood cancer survivors develop a second cancer?
Charles Stiller, Childhood Cancer Research Group, University of Oxford
Amount of award: £71,585  │ Start date: 1st April 2012  │ Duration: 24 months

Unfortunately the intensive treatments that have proved so effective in increasing the survival rates for childhood cancer over recent decades can themselves cause serious problems for young patients. One of the most serious of these problems is the risk of developing a second cancer.

The risks of second cancers have been well studied in children diagnosed before 1992, but little research has been done into the risks faced by children diagnosed more recently. This means that little information is available on second cancers in children receiving recently-introduced forms of treatment or in children with cancers which had low survival prior to 1992. In addition, past research has tended to focus on five-year survivors of childhood cancer; and little attention has been paid to second cancers occurring within the first five-years of survival.

Preliminary research shows that the proportion of children developing a second cancer almost doubled between children diagnosed in 1962-91 and children diagnosed in 1992-2006. It is imperative that we understand why this increase has occurred.

Charles Stiller and colleagues will study more than 200 children diagnosed with second cancers, at least half of whom will have been diagnosed after 1992. The team will compare these children with childhood cancer survivors who have not been diagnosed with a second cancer.

They will obtain detailed information from the children’s hospital records about the treatment received for the first cancer and look for differences between the two groups. They will also look for the presence of genetic syndromes and birth defects as well as differences in ethnicity and socio-economic status.

About the research teamCharles Stiller, who is leading this research, is the Director of the National Registry of Childhood Tumours (NRCT), the largest specialist childhood cancer registry in the world. The NRCT has virtually complete coverage of childhood cancer across the whole of the UK and, as part of the follow-up of survivors of childhood cancer, the NRCT team is routinely informed of subsequent cancers diagnosed in survivors.

Potential impact of this workThis is a very important project that will help us to understand the risk of children developing second cancers in the early years after initial diagnosis of a childhood cancer. Preliminary data suggests that the treatments given in more recent years may increase the risk of children developing second cancers; these risks may be reduced by altering the dose or type of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

31. Charles Stiller
Target: £71,585.00


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