The average annual percent change (AAPC) of paediatric lymphoid leukaemias rose by 0.4% in the US, according to a recent update by the US Public Health Service published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last week. Using registry data from US Cancer Statistics, which covers 99.1% of the US population, authors David Seigel and colleagues identified the incidence of paediatric cancers from 248,749 diagnosed cases in individuals 19 and under between 2003 and 2019.  They found that among all cancers in the International Classification of Childhood Cancer (ICCC), lymphoid leukaemias impacted the most children, accounting for 18.77% of all cancer cases. Given the rising incidence of lymphoid leukaemias in both boys and girls, it is crucial to ensure sufficient allocation of care capacity to meet the needs of these children during treatment.  Additionally, ongoing follow-up care must be available to address their long-term health requirements.

Seigel and colleagues identified an increasing AAPC in five of the 12 ICCC categories: leukaemias, lymphomas, hepatic tumours, malignant bone tumours, and other malignant neoplasms and melanoma. Among them, leukaemia had the highest diagnosed incidence rate, with 46.6 cases per one million individuals aged 0 to 19 years. Most leukaemia cases were attributed to lymphoid leukaemias, accounting for 72.30% of diagnosed leukaemia cases over the specified period.  According to Stanford Medicine, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common type of leukaemia in children, is likely responsible for driving the majority of these cases. GlobalData estimates that approximately 2,800 individuals aged 19 years and under will be diagnosed with ALL in 2023 alone, and this number is anticipated to increase by about 50 cases per year by 2029.  It is possible, however, that these numbers could be higher, given the trends highlighted by Seigel and colleagues.

This growth will not only result in a slightly increased demand for treatment but because the five-year survival rate for paediatric ALL (and subsequently most lymphoid leukaemias) is about 90%, an increasing number of paediatric ALL survivors will also need follow-up treatment for associated conditions such as metabolic disorders and cardiac dysfunction.  Therefore, it is essential to continue monitoring paediatric cancer cases, particularly lymphoid leukaemias, by collecting clinical and molecular data.  Doing so will aid researchers in developing interventions and improve enrollment in clinical trials.