British Journal of Cancer
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BACKGROUND: Objectives were to describe the proportion of deaths due to treatment-related mortality (TRM) and to identify risk factors and probable causes of TRM among paediatric cancer deaths in a population-based cohort.
METHODS: We included children with cancer ⩽18 years diagnosed and treated in Ontario who died between January 2003 and December 2012. Deaths were identified using a provincial registry, the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario Networked Information System. Probable causes of TRM were described.
RESULTS: Among the 964 deaths identified, 821 were included. The median age at diagnosis was 6.6 years (range 0-18.8) and 51.8% had at least one relapse. Of the deaths examined, TRM occurred in 217/821 (26.4%) while 604/821 (73.6%) were due to progressive cancer. Deaths from TRM did not change over time. Using multiple regression, younger age, leukaemia diagnosis and absence of relapse were independently positively associated with TRM. The most common probable causes of TRM were respiratory, infection and haemorrhage.
CONCLUSIONS: TRM was responsible for 26.4% of deaths in paediatric cancer. Underlying diagnosis, younger age and absence of relapse were associated with TRM and causes of TRM differed by diagnosis group. Future work should evaluate TRM rate and risk factors among newly diagnosed cancer patients.