Nearly 1 in 12 patients with a cancer from the 10 most common cancer sites developed a second primary neoplasm during survivorship, a study published in the journal Cancer has shown.1

Although previous research has demonstrated that cancer survivors may developed a second malignancy, there are limited data on the approximate risk of developing a second primary neoplasm. Therefore, researchers sought to investigate the incidence, most common sites, and mortality of second malignancies among survivors of the 10 most common cancers.

For the retrospective cohort study, researchers analyzed data from 2,116,163 patients age 18 years and older with melanoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or a primary malignancy of the prostate, breast, lung, colon, rectum, bladder, uterus, or kidney. Diagnoses were made between 1992 and 2008 and included in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database.

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Results showed that 8.1% of patients developed a second primary neoplasm. Researchers found that survivors of bladder cancer had the highest risk of developing a second malignancy, the most common of which was lung cancer.

After adjusting for multiple factors, the study demonstrated that a history of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and bladder cancer predicted the highest risk of developing a second malignancy among both men and women.

Among patients with 2 incident cancers, 13% died as a result of their first cancer, but 55% died of their second malignancy, with lung cancer being the cause of death in 12%.

“The findings from the current study may inform care strategies among cancer survivors,” the authors conclude.


1. Donin N, Filson C, Drakaki A, et al. Risk of second primary malignancies among cancer survivors in the United States, 1992 through 2008. Cancer. 2016 Jul 5. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30164. [Epub ahead of print]