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Abstract

Background: Little is known about the effect of migrant status on childhood cancer survival. We studied cancer survival among children of Turkish descent in the German Cancer Childhood Registry, one of the largest childhood cancer registries worldwide. Methods: We identified children of Turkish descent among cancer cases using a name-based approach. We compared 5-year survival probabilities of Turkish and other children in three time periods of diagnosis (1980–87, 1988–95, 1996–2005) using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank tests. Results: The 5-year survival probability for all cancers among 1774 cases of Turkish descent (4.76% of all 37.259 cases) was 76.9% compared to 77.6% in the comparison group (all other cases; p = 0.15). We found no age- or sex-specific survival differences (p-values between p = 0.18 and p = 0.90). For the period 1980–87, the 5-year survival probability among Turkish children with lymphoid leukaemia was significantly lower (62% versus 75.8%; p < 0.0001), this remains unexplained. For more recently diagnosed leukaemias, we saw no survival differences for Turkish and non-Turkish children. Conclusion: Our results suggest that nowadays Turkish migrant status has no bearing on the outcome of childhood cancer therapies in Germany. The inclusion of currently more than 95% of all childhood cancer cases in standardised treatment protocols is likely to contribute to this finding.

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