Late mortality and morbidity among long-term leukemia survivors with Down syndrome: A nationwide population-based cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Late health consequences of treatment for childhood leukemia are well documented. Although individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have a substantially increased risk of leukemia, information on late effects in this group is almost nonexistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mortality and morbidity among 5-year leukemia survivors with DS. Procedure: We compared 5-year leukemia survivors with leukemia-free individuals with DS. All individuals born with DS in Denmark between 1960 and 2007 and in Sweden between 1973 and 2009 were included. Long-term morbidity was estimated by comparing hospitalization rates between survivors and leukemia-free individuals. Results: In total, we found 6,705 individuals with DS, 84 of whom were 5-year survivors of leukemia. Survivors had a higher risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 5.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.7–13) compared with leukemia-free individuals. All deaths (n = 7) among 5-year leukemia survivors were due to relapse. Survivors had a higher hospitalization rate (HR 4.4; 95% CI: 3.1–6.2). However, most of these hospitalizations were due to relapse. Censoring individuals who either had a relapse or were being treated for a relapse more than 5 years from the initial diagnosis (n = 9) attenuated the association (HR 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0–2.1). Conclusion: In this study, we found that relapse was the main reason for death and hospitalization among leukemia survivors with DS, and not late effects. These results are reassuring for individuals treated for DS associated with leukemia and their parents.


External organisations
  • Aarhus University Hospital
  • Karolinska University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Down syndrome, late effects, leukemia, morbidity, mortality
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27249
JournalPediatric Blood & Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 1
Publication categoryResearch