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Death due to cancer on the decline for most tumours in Europe

The exceptions are death due to lung and pancreatic carcinoma in women which are both still on the rise, according to a new study, published in Annals of Oncology on the 19th of March 2018.

Researchers predict that the death rates for most types of cancer will be lower in 2018 when compared to 2012 in the European Union.

The study, led by Carlo La Vecchia (MD) of the University of Milan, shows that death due to colorectal cancer (CRC) is on the decline in Europe. The researchers call the drop in death-rates of CRC, which is the most common cause of cancer-death in non-smoking males and females, one of the major achievements in the management of oncologic diseases over the recent years.

Key numbers for CRC:

  • CRC is the second highest cause of cancer-death: 177,400 (male: 98,000 in men; female 79,400);
  • Due to the ageing population, the absolute quantities of fatalities have risen since 2012;
  • In contrast, the age-standardised rates will decrease by 6.7% in men (15.8 per 100,000) and 7.5% in women (9.2 per 100,000).

Risk factors for CRC include:

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Unhealthy diet

The use of oral contraceptives and hormone-replacement therapy in women may partly explain the decreased risk in females. Furthermore, the use of aspirin for prevention of cardiovascular disease and effective screening may further contribute to a decrease in the incidence of the disease in both sexes.

Key numbers for all cancers in Europe:

  • In 2018, 1.4 million cancer deaths are predicted, up from 1.3 million in 2012.
  • Death-rates have fallen by 10.3% in men and 5% in women
  • Age-standardised death rates in 2018 are predicted to be 130 per 100,000 for men and 84 per 100,000 for women.


  1. Malvezzi M et al. Ann Oncol. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdy033

EMA Suggests Extension of Therapeutic Indications for Denosumab

Extension of indication includes the avoidance of skeletal-related events in grown-ups with late-stage malignancies involving the bone

On 22 February 2018, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion recommending towards a change in the marketing authorisation for denosumab (licensee: Amgen Europe BV).

The following extension of the label was adopted by the CHMP:

  • Prevention of skeletal-related events in adults with advanced malignancies involving bone (e.g. pathological fracture, radiation to the bone, spinal cord compression, or surgery to the bone).

Previously, denosumab was only indicated for the prevention of skeletal-related events in adults with bone metastases from solid tumours.