Adolscent and young adult leukaemia survivors face higher mortality than general population

June 2022 Science Nalinee Pathak
An adult female with Alopecia is being helped by her Hispanic female nurse during a home visit. They are looking at a digital tablet together

A new study reports that adolescent and young adults (AYA) leukaemia survivors have high mortality rates than the age-adjusted general population. The findings of this study have been published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Although the AYA leukaemia cases are rare, the incidence of these cancers and the subsequent mortality have been rising since the 1970s. Berkman et al have analysed the mortality patterns in AYA leukaemia patients.

Study Design

The study analysed data for 1,938 acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) and 2,350 acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) survivors to assess long-term outcomes in these patient’s post-diagnosis. The patient data were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry and a U.S. national cohort obtained from the National Vital Statistics report. Ethnically, ALL survivors were primarily white (58%) along with black (6%), Hispanic (29%), Asian (7&%) or Pacific Islander. Similarly, AML survivors were white (59%), black (9%), Hispanic (22%), and Asian or Pacific Islander (10%). The investigators analysed the impact of diagnosis, age, sex, race, socio-economic status, and 10-year diagnosis on long-term survival of AYA leukaemia patients.


The ten-year survival for ALL and AML survivors was found reduced to 87% and 89%, respectively, red to 99% for the general population. The most common cause of death in these patients was primary cancer mortality. Moreover, male AML survivors had significantly worse survival than female patients (survival time ratio: 0.61, 95% confidence interval: 0.45–0.82).


The results clearly demonstrate the higher mortality in AYA leukaemia patients after decade of diagnosis. Future studies are needed investigating the risk factors for mortality among these survivors.


Berkman AM, Andersen CR, Cuglievan B, McCall DC, et al. Long-Term Outcomes among Adolescent and Young Adult Survivors of Acute Leukemia: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2022 Jun 1;31(6):1176-1184.