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Keywords:

  • childhood cancer;
  • recurrence detection;
  • follow-up;
  • surveillance

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Frequent follow-up and regular investigation are routine in pediatric oncology. However, there is little evidence regarding their value in the detection of recurrent disease.

METHODS

The authors carried out a retrospective study of the follow-up of 186 children with solid tumors who were diagnosed between 1992 and 1996. The numbers of clinic visits, follow-up investigations, and (if appropriate) the mode of recurrence detection were recorded.

RESULTS

The mean follow-up was 5.9 years. During this time, 37 recurrences were detected, symptomatically in 54% of patients, by routine investigation in 30% of patients, and at routine clinic appointment in 16% of patients. It was calculated that routine magnetic resonance imaging detected 1 recurrence for every 42 scans performed, routine computed tomography detected 1 recurrence for every 129 scans performed, and routine chest radiography detected 1 recurrence for every 257 films.

CONCLUSIONS

The current results raise questions regarding the usefulness of such follow-up in children with solid tumors. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.