The Pattern of Pediatric Solid Malignant Tumors in Western Kenya, East Africa, 1979–1994: An Analysis Based on Histopathologic Study

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  • Department of Pathology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Department of Histopathology, Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, Nagasaki, Japan
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This study analyzed histopathologic specimens of 600 pediatric solid malignant tumors seen during the period 1979–1994 at the histopathology laboratories of the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital in Nakuru, the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital in Kisumu, and the Uasin Gishu Hospital in Eldoret in western Kenya. The crude incidence rate of each malignancy per 100,000 children per year was calculated. The patterns of malignancies were examined with a focus on tumor incidence, age, sex, geographic, and ethnic distribution to relate the tumors to putative environmental and genetic causative factors. The six common tumors were Burkitt's lymphoma (33.5%), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (21.8%), retinoblastoma (11.5%), Kaposi's sarcoma (6.1%), nephroblastoma (4.5%), and Hodgkin's disease (4.1%). Significantly high crude incidence rates for lymphomas and Kaposi's sarcoma showed a characteristic ethnogeographic distribution. The majority of the tumors were found concentrated around Lake Victoria and showed decreasing occurrence as one moved towards the semi-arid and highland areas. We concluded that environmental factors seem to play a major role in childhood tumors in western Kenya.