Cancer Causes & Control

, 20:1671 | Cite as

Trends in adult leukemia incidence and survival in Denmark, 1943–2003

  • Lau Caspar ThygesenEmail author
  • Ove Juul Nielsen
  • Christoffer Johansen
Original paper


The etiology of leukemia is largely unknown. Ecological data indicating trends in incidence and survival can provide information about changes in risk factors, can reflect underlying changes in diagnostic classification, and can measure therapeutic advances. From the records of the Danish Cancer Registry with registration starting from 1943, we calculated age-specific, period-specific, and age-standardized (world standard) incidence rates of chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL), acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) for persons above the age of 18. Kaplan–Meier survival curves and median survival times were calculated. Between 1943 and 2003, there were 26,036 cases of leukemia reported. The age-specific incidence rates of CLL, CML, and AML were higher for older men and women, while the incidence rates of ALL by age were more homogeneous. The age-standardized incidence rates during the study period increased for CLL and AML, increased less strongly for ALL, and decreased for CML in both men and women, although the incidence rates for women were almost always lower. Patients with CLL had the longest survival time in all age groups. The median survival time increased for all leukemia subtypes throughout the period of study most pronounced for CLL since 1950 and CML since 1990.


Lymphoid malignancies Myeloid leukemia Leukemia Incidence Survival Denmark 



This study was partly supported by Novartis Denmark.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lau Caspar Thygesen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ove Juul Nielsen
    • 3
  • Christoffer Johansen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cancer EpidemiologyDanish Cancer SocietyCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.National Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of HematologyRigshospitalet University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

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