The volume effect in paediatric oncology: A systematic review

R. R.G. Knops, E. C. van Dalen, R. L. Mulder, E. Leclercq, S. L. Knijnenburg, G. J.L. Kaspers, R. Pieters, H. N. Caron, L. C.M. Kremer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: For 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 methods: An 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. Results: In 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. Conclusions: This 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1749-1753
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood cancer
  • Paediatric oncology
  • Quality of care
  • Volume


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