Scientific internship: Time trends in incidence and survival of rhabdomyosarcomas

The Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology is a new nationwide research hospital concentrating healthcare, research, and education with regard to cancer in children and is located in the Utrecht Science Park. The institute aims to provide the highest level of care for all children with cancer and has the ambition to cure all children of cancer with optimal quality of life. The center brings together the best possible care and scientific research, creating a unique interdisciplinary institute for pediatric oncology in Europe.

We are seeking a highly enthusiastic and ambitious (medical) MSc student who is interested in evaluating time trends in incidence and survival of rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) in the Netherlands since the 1990s.

Research project

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcomas in children and adolescents. RMS represents 3-4% of all pediatric cancers which corresponds to about 18 newly diagnosed patients below the age of 18 years annually in the Netherlands. This will be the first population-based study evaluating trends in incidence and survival of RMS in detail in order to inform future research on etiology and new treatment strategies, and to enable future evaluations of the concentration of pediatric oncology care in the Netherlands.

Data on 581 rhabdomyosarcomas diagnosed in pediatric patients (<18 years) between 1990 and 2021 have been derived from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR). NCR data contains information on gender, age, tumor site, histology, stage, primary treatment and follow-up data which is complete up to February 1st 2023. Moreover, these data are linked to the Nationwide Network and Registry of Histopathology and Cytopathology (PALGA).

The project will be composed of two main research questions. The first research question will be aimed at evaluating the diagnoses by comparing data from the NCR and PALGA. The second research question will focus on evaluating time trends in incidence and 5-year observed survival rates for the whole group and by subgroups (e.g. tumor site, histology and stage).

This project is a collaboration between the Karim-Kos and Merks group.

About the Karim-Kos and Merks group

The research group “Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Outcomes” led by Dr. Henrike Karim-Kos focusses on analyzing childhood cancer statistics. By looking at these statistics, we aim to expand our knowledge about the incidence of childhood cancer, its spread in the population, possible causes, and prognosis.

Prof. Hans Merks is group leader of the research group “Pediatric sarcoma treatment” with the main aim of improving treatment, cure and quality of life of children diagnosed with a sarcoma.

Your position

Within the project, you will be responsible for evaluating the diagnoses and calculating incidence and survival rates resulting in a written report or scientific article.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated medical MSc student who has affinity with pediatric oncology and is willing to learn more about epidemiological research.

Are you interested in this scientific internship? Please, apply before September 1st by sending an e-mail to

You are welcome to contact Dr. Henrike Karim-Kos for additional information about the internship.

Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

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