Research

Solid malignancies during the first year of life: A 20-year review at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

N Jauquier, N English, A Davidson, S G Cox

Abstract


Background. Among paediatric tumours, two groups stand out: neonatal and infantile tumours, which respectively represent 2% and 10% of paediatric tumours. The distribution of tumours in these age groups is different from that in older children. 

Objectives. Descriptive analysis of a cohort of patients treated for a solid malignancy at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH), Cape Town, South Africa. 

Methods. A 20-year retrospective case series review of patients aged <1 year at diagnosis was performed on data extracted from the RCWMCH oncology database. 

Results. Of 243 cases extracted from the database, 198 were solid tumours, of which 122 (61.1%) were included in the analysis; the 76 excluded were benign or of eye, bone or central nervous system origin and therefore did not meet the inclusion criteria. There were 38 renal malignancies (31.2%), 30 neuroblastomas (24.6%), 25 soft-tissue sarcomas (20.5%), 17 germ cell tumours/gonadal tumours (13.9%) and 12 liver tumours (9.8%). Of the patients, 119 (97.5%) had surgery, 91 (74.6%) had chemotherapy and 10 (8.2%) had radiotherapy. Tumour group 5-year survival was 78.5% for neuroblastic tumours, 79.0% for nephroblastomas, 81.5% for hepatoblastomas, 62.5% and 54.2% for rhabdomyosarcoma and non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft-tissue sarcomas, respectively, and 79.5% for malignant extracranial and extragonadal germ cell tumours. For the entire cohort, the mean follow-up was 46 months, with an estimated 5-year overall survival of 74.6%. Mortality was 21.5% and loss to follow-up 6.6%. 

Conclusion. The distribution of tumours differs slightly from the literature, with a predominance of renal tumours over neuroblastomas. The overall mortality rate of 21.5%, the surgical complication rate of 10.9% and the 5-year overall survival of 74.6% correspond with the literature, supporting the view that a paediatric hospital in a middle-income country can achieve results similar to those in higher-income countries when international protocols are applied by a dedicated multidisciplinary team.


Authors' affiliations

N Jauquier, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

N English, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Davidson, Haematology/Oncology Service, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

S G Cox, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Neonatal tumours; Infant tumours; Solid malignancy in children; Middle-income country; Surgical oncology

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2022;112(6):418-425.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-05-31
Date published: 2022-05-31

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