Incidence of Biopsy-Proven Bone Tumors in Children: A Report Based on the Dutch Pathology Registration "PALGA"

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Introduction:Data on childhood bone tumors are mainly confined to reports on malignant tumors or on institutional registries. Incidence figures on both benign and malignant bone tumors in childhood are lacking.Methods:From January 1999 to December 2003, 1474 newly diagnosed bone tumors in children up to 18 years were registered in Pathologisch Anatomisch Landelijk Geautomatiseerd Archief (the nationwide network and registry of histopathology and cytopathology in The Netherlands). Data provided were diagnosis, date of birth, age at diagnosis, and localization. For incidence calculations, data on age and sex in each year of investigation were obtained from the StatLine database of Statistics Netherlands ( of pathology-proven bone tumors in children is low. Incidence of pathology-proven bone tumors in The Netherlands is 79.3 per 1,000,000. From the very first year of life, incidence increases from 3.9 per 1,000,000 to a peak at 13 to 15 years of 142.9 per 1,000,000. Osteochondromas are the most prevalent tumors, followed by aneurysmal bone cysts. The overall incidence is higher for male compared with female patients, mainly due to different frequencies found in aneurysmal bone cysts, Ewing sarcoma, and osteochondroma. Shifts in incidence differ among the various tumors. In infants, bone tumors are mainly chondromas and fibrous dysplasia, which both show a steady increase at older ages. Tumors most prevalent at older ages are osteochondromas, osteosarcomas, osteoid osteomas, and chondromas. A peak incidence at approximately the age of 10 is noted for solitary bone cysts, nonossifying fibromas, and osteoblastomas. Small children more often have localizations in the skull and facial bones. Comparison with literature data showed significant differences due to referral-based institutionally bias, whereas tumor registries only give data for specific tumor types.

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