The volume effect in paediatric oncology: a systematic review

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BackgroundFor several adult cancer types, there is evidence that treatment in high volume hospitals, high case volume providers, or in specialised hospitals leads to a better outcome. The aim of this study is to give an overview of the existing evidence regarding the volume effect in paediatric oncology related to the quality of care or survival.Materials and methodsAn extensive search was carried out for studies on the effect of provider case volume on the quality of care or survival in childhood cancer. Information about study characteristics, comparisons, results, and quality assessment were abstracted.ResultsIn total, 14 studies were included in this systematic review. Studies with a low risk of bias provide evidence that treatment of children with brain tumours, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, or children receiving treatment with allogenic bone marrow transplantation in higher volume hospitals, specialised hospitals, or by high case volume providers, is related with a better outcome.ConclusionsThis systematic review provides support for the statement that higher volume hospitals, higher case volume providers, and specialised hospitals are related to the better outcome in paediatric oncology. No studies reported a negative effect of a higher volume.

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