• Most common soft tissue cancer of children
  • Overall survival is 75%, but significantly less for children who present with metastatic disease
  • Can occur almost anywhere in the body because it is a tumor of ‘muscle’ cells
  • Slightly more common in boys than girls
  • Can occur at any age from birth as well as in adults
  • Treatment includes chemotherapy (to shrink tumor) with radiation and surgery used as well
  • New drugs are being used in phase I and II (experimental) protocols to determine whether they will be more effective than current ‘standard’ protocols; some of these drugs are showing some promise

Childhood Cancer

  • Most common cause of disease-related death among children
  • 1300 new cases in Canada each year
  • 80% overall survival but < 30% survival for children with metastatic (stage IV) tumors, many types of brain tumors and certain leukemia’s
  • Leukemia’s account for 1/3 of all childhood cancers
  • Brain tumors account for 1/3 of all childhood cancers
  • Non-brain solid tumors account for 1/3 of all childhood cancers
  • causes of childhood cancers are generally not known, but genetic factors are thought to play a significant role in perhaps as many as 40% (though specific genes have only been identified for a small fraction of these)
  • Treatment for childhood cancers include chemotherapy, radiation therapy (for some) and surgery (for some)


  • Largest children’s hospital in Canada; among 3 largest in North America
  • Treats 25% of all childhood cancer patients in Canada (65% of Ontario’s)
  • Largest (by far) research institute in a children’s hospital in Canada and among the largest hospital-affiliated research institutes
  • 300 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year
  • Over 40 research labs conducting cancer research: genetics of cancer; looking for new drugs; studying long-term effects of treatment; identifying the cancer ‘stem cell’ – the earliest cells that lead to tumor formation; studies with both human tumor samples as well as modeling tumors in animals (usually mice)

SickKids Hospital in Toronto