Survival among adolescents and young adults with cancer in Germany and the United States: An international comparison


  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to report

  • Members of the GEKID Cancer Survival Working Group: Karla Geiss, Martin Meyer (Cancer Registry of Bavaria), Andrea Eberle, Sabine Luttmann (Cancer Registry of Bremen), Roland Stabenow (Cancer Registry of Berlin and the New Federal States), N. N. (Cancer Registry of Hamburg), Joachim Kieschke, Eunice Sirri (Cancer Registry of Lower Saxony), Bernd Holleczek (Cancer Registry of Saarland), Katharina Emrich (Cancer Registry of Rhineland Palatinate), Volkmar Mattauch (Cancer Registry of North Rhine-Westphalia), Alexander Katalinic (Cancer Registry of Schleswig-Holstein), Klaus Kraywinkel (Robert Koch Institute, Berlin) and Hermann Brenner, Adam Gondos and Eva Hiripi (German Cancer Research Center)

Correspondence to: Dr. Adam Gondos, Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, German Cancer Research Center, INF 581, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany, Tel.: +49-6221-421348, Fax: +49-6221-421302, E-mail:


Serious concern arose in the scientific literature about the state of and progress in cancer survival among adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients in the recent years. We provide an up-to-date international comparison of survival among AYA patients. Using population-based cancer data from 11 German cancer registries and the SEER Program of the United States (covering populations of 39 and 33 million people, respectively), standardized tumor group classifications, period analysis and modeling, we compared the 5-year relative survival of AYA patients in the age groups 15–29 and 30–39 to survival seen among adults aged 40–49 for the 2002–2006 period. Additionally, we also provide an age-specific survival comparison between the two countries. In 2002–2006, for the overwhelming majority of the more than 30 types of cancer examined, AYA patients aged both 15–29 and 30–39 years had higher or similar survival than patients in the age group 40–49 in both countries. A numerically large and statistically significant survival deficit among AYA patients was only found for breast carcinomas in both populations, and colorectal and stomach carcinoma in the United States for the age group 15–29. Overall, results of the country-specific comparisons did not indicate systematic differences. With very few exceptions, no survival deficit between AYA patients and adults aged 40–49 years was found in either of the examined countries in the first decade of the 21st century.