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01.06.2010 | Original paper | Ausgabe 6/2010

Cancer Causes & Control 6/2010

Epidemiology of neuroendocrine cancers in an Australian population

Cancer Causes & Control > Ausgabe 6/2010
Colin Luke, Timothy Price, Amanda Townsend, Christos Karapetis, Dusan Kotasek, Nimit Singhal, Elizabeth Tracey, David Roder



The aim was to explore incidence, mortality and case survivals for invasive neuroendocrine cancers in an Australian population and consider cancer control implications.


Directly age-standardised incidence and mortality rates were investigated from 1980 to 2006, plus disease-specific survivals.


Annual incidence per 100,000 increased from 1.7 in 1980–1989 to 3.3 in 2000–2006. A corresponding mortality increase was not observed, although numbers of deaths were low, reducing statistical power. Increases in incidence affected both sexes and were more evident for female lung, large bowel (excluding appendix), and unknown primary site. Common sites were lung (25.9%), large bowel (23.3%) (40.9% were appendix), small intestine (20.6%), unknown primary (15.0%), pancreas (6.5%), and stomach (3.7%). Site distribution did not vary by sex (p = 0.260). Younger ages at diagnosis applied for lung (p = 0.002) and appendix (p < 0.001) and older ages for small intestine (p < 0.001) and unknown primary site (p < 0.001). Five-year survival was 68.5% for all sites combined, with secular increases (p < 0.001). After adjusting for age and diagnostic period, survivals were higher for appendix and lower for unknown primary site, pancreas, and colon (excluding appendix).


Incidence rates are increasing. Research is needed into possible aetiological factors for lung and large-bowel sites, including tobacco smoking, and excess body weight and lack of exercise, respectively; and Crohn’s disease as a possible precursor condition.

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