Gemma Gatta

Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (146)635.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background Complete cancer prevalence data in Europe have never been updated after the first estimates provided by the EUROPREVAL project and referred to the year 1993. This paper provides prevalence estimates for 16 major cancers in Europe at the beginning of the year 2003.Patients and methodsWe estimated complete prevalence by the completeness index method. We used information on cancer patients diagnosed in 1978-2002 with vital status information available up to 31 December 2003, from 76 European cancer registries.ResultsAbout 11.6 millions of Europeans with a history of one of the major considered cancers were alive on 1 January 2003. For breast and prostate cancers, about 1 out of 73 women and 1 out of 160 men were living with a previous diagnosis of breast and prostate cancers, respectively. The demographic variations alone will increase the number of prevalent cases to nearly 13 millions in 2010.Conclusions Several factors (early detection, population aging and better treatment) contribute to increase cancer prevalence and push for the need of a continuous monitoring of prevalence indicators to properly plan needs, resource allocation to cancer and for improving health care programs for cancer survivors. Cancer prevalence should be included within the EU official health statistics.
    Annals of Oncology 04/2013; · 7.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Proportion cured is a potentially more informative cancer outcome measure than five-year survival. We present population-based cured estimates for young patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Europe from 1982 to 2002. Design and methods. Thirty-five European cancer registries provided data. Survival was estimated by age, period of diagnosis and European region, and used as input for parametric cure models, which assume cured patients have the same mortality as the general population. Results. For acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosed in 1-14 year-olds in 2000-2002, over 77% were estimated cured. The proportion cured improved significantly over the study period: an impressive 26% to 58% in infants (up to 1 year), 70% to 90% in 1-4 year-olds, 63% to 86% in 5-9 year-olds, 52% to 77% in 10-14 year-olds, and 44% to 50% in 15-24 year-olds. Regional variations in proportion cured reduced over time for 1-14 year-olds, but persisted in infants and 15-24 year-olds. Five-year survival was always slightly higher than proportion cured. Conclusions. Considerable proportions of young patients were estimated cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, nevertheless a small excess risk of dying persisted beyond five years after diagnosis when patients remained at risk for late treatment effects and second primaries.
    Haematologica 02/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
  • JNCI Monographs 01/2013; 2013(46):124-30.
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the extent to which stage at diagnosis and adherence to treatment guidelines may explain the persistent differences in colorectal cancer survival between the USA and Europe. A high-resolution study using detailed clinical data on Dukes' stage, diagnostic procedures, treatment and follow-up, collected directly from medical records by trained abstractors under a single protocol, with standardised quality control and central statistical analysis. 21 population-based registries in seven US states and nine European countries provided data for random samples comprising 12 523 adults (15-99 years) diagnosed with colorectal cancer during 1996-1998. Logistic regression models were used to compare adherence to 'standard care' in the USA and Europe. Net survival and excess risk of death were estimated with flexible parametric models. The proportion of Dukes' A and B tumours was similar in the USA and Europe, while that of Dukes' C was more frequent in the USA (38% vs 21%) and of Dukes' D more frequent in Europe (22% vs 10%). Resection with curative intent was more frequent in the USA (85% vs 75%). Elderly patients (75-99 years) were 70-90% less likely to receive radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Age-standardised 5-year net survival was similar in the USA (58%) and Northern and Western Europe (54-56%) and lowest in Eastern Europe (42%). The mean excess hazard up to 5 years after diagnosis was highest in Eastern Europe, especially among elderly patients and those with Dukes' D tumours. The wide differences in colorectal cancer survival between Europe and the USA in the late 1990s are probably attributable to earlier stage and more extensive use of surgery and adjuvant treatment in the USA. Elderly patients with colorectal cancer received surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy less often than younger patients, despite evidence that they could also have benefited.
    BMJ Open 01/2013; 3(9):e003055. · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the usage and the performance evaluation of the completeness index method in the ‘Surveillance of Rare Cancers in Europe project’ (RARECARE) for estimating rare cancer prevalence in Europe. The 15-year prevalence at 1st January 2003 for 255 cancers is obtained from a pool of 22 RARECARE cancer registries (CRs). Incidence and survival models are applied to the RARECARE database to estimate the parameters from which the completeness indices are calculated. Complete prevalence is obtained adjusting the observed 15-year prevalence by the completeness index, to account for those cancer survivors diagnosed before the CR activity started. Main factors influencing the performance of the completeness index method for rare cancers are the same as for common cancers: age distribution of incidence and lethality of the cancer. For cancers occurring in the elderly, with low survival rates and consequently a restricted number of long-term survivors we obtained completeness indices higher than 0.9. Values lower than 0.7 correspond to those cancers with good prognosis and/or incidence more concentrated at the younger ages, indicating that 15 years of follow up are insufficient to detect all prevalent cases. Validation analysis shows that for a restricted subgroup of rare cancers with very low incidence and low survival, the completeness indices were not able to adequately correct the observed prevalence even considering a registration period of 20 years. On average, sensitivity analyses show a slight overestimation of complete prevalence for rare and common cancers whose increasing incidence is known in literature. RARECARE is the largest project on rare cancers conducted to date. Improving health care programs for cancer survivors is a public health priority and prevalence data which provides important information in this field should be regularly asked to Member States and included in the EU health statistics.
    Cancer Epidemiology. 01/2013; 37(6):850–856.
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer survival varies markedly across Europe. We analyzed variations in all-cancer 5-year relative survival in relation to macroeconomic and health-care indicators, and 5-year relative survival for three major cancers (colorectal, prostate, breast) in relation to application of standard treatments, to serve as baseline for monitoring the efficacy of new European initiatives to improve cancer survival. Five-year relative survival data were from the European cancer registry-based study of cancer patients' survival and care (EUROCARE-4). Macroeconomic and health system data were from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and European Observatory on Health Care Systems. Information on treatments given was from EUROCARE studies. Total national health spending varied widely across Europe and correlated linearly with survival (R = 0.8). Countries with high spending had high numbers of diagnostic and radiotherapy units, and 5-year relative survival was good (>50%). The treatments given for major cancers also varied; advanced stage at diagnosis was associated with poor 5-year relative survival and low odds of receiving standard treatment for breast and colorectal cancer.
    JNCI Monographs 01/2013; 2013(46):79-87.
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    ABSTRACT: Aims and background. The project Surveillance of rare cancers in Italy (RITA) provides, for the first time, estimates of the burden of rare cancers in Italy based on the list of rare cancers proposed in collaboration with the European project Surveillance of Rare Cancers in Europe (RARECARE).Methods. RITA analyzed data from Italian population-based cancer registries (CR). The period of diagnosis was 1988 to 2002, and vital status information was available up to December 31, 2003. Incidence rates were estimated for the period 1995-2002, survival for the years 2000-2002 (with the period method of Brenner), and complete prevalence at January 1, 2003. Results. Rare cancers are those with an incidence <6/100,000/year. In Italy, every year there are 60,000 new diagnoses of rare cancers corresponding to 15% of all new cancer diagnoses. Five-year relative survival was on the average worse for rare cancers (53%) than for common cancers (73%). A total of 770,000 patients were living in Italy in 2008 with a diagnosis of a rare cancer, 22% of the total cancer prevalence. Conclusions. Our estimates constitute a useful base for further research and support the idea that rare cancers are a public health problem that deserves attention. Centers of expertise for rare cancers that pool cases, expertise and resources could ensure an adequate clinical management for these diseases. Our data also showed that cancer registries are suitable sources of data to estimate incidence, prevalence and survival for rare cancers and should continue to monitoring rare cancers in Italy.
    Tumori. 09/2012; 98(5):550-558.
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    ABSTRACT: Embryonal cancers are a heterogeneous group of rare cancers which mainly occur in children and adolescents. The aim of the present study was to estimate the burden (incidence, prevalence, survival and proportion of cured) for the principal embryonal cancers in Europe (EU27), using population-based data from cancer registries (CRs) participating in RARECARE. We identified 3322 cases diagnosed from 1995 to 2002 (latest period for which data are available): 44% neuroblastoma, 35% nephroblastoma, 13% retinoblastoma and 6% hepatoblastoma. Very few cases of pulmonary blastoma (43 cases) and pancreatoblastoma (seven cases) were diagnosed. About 2000 new embryonal cancers were estimated every year in EU27, for an annual incidence rate of 4 per million (1.8 neuroblastoma, 1.4 nephroblastoma, and 0.5 retinoblastoma); 91% of cases occurred in patients under 15 years. Five-year relative survival for all embryonal cancers was 80% (99% retinoblastoma, 90% nephroblastoma, 71% hepatoblastoma and 68% neuroblastoma). Overall survival was lower in adolescents and adults than in those under 15 years. The cure rate was estimated at 80%. Slightly less than 40,000 persons were estimated alive in EU27 with a diagnosis of embryonal cancer in 2008. Nephroblastoma was the most prevalent (18,150 cases in EU27), followed by neuroblastoma (12,100), retinoblastoma (5200), hepatoblastoma (2700) and pulmonary blastoma (614). This is the first study to delineate the embryonal cancer burden in Europe by age, sex and European region. Survival/cure rate is generally high, but there are considerable gaps in our understanding of the natural histories of these rare diseases particularly in adults.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 02/2012; 48(10):1425-33. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The RARECARE project aims at increasing knowledge of rare cancers in Europe. This manuscript describes the epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, survival) of rare urogenital cancers, taking into account the morphological characterisation of these tumours. We used data gathered by RARECARE on cancer patients diagnosed from 1995 to 2002 and archived in 64 European population-based cancer registries, followed up to December 31st, 2003 or later. The annual number of males that develop penile cancer in the EU is estimated at 3100, which is equivalent to an age standardised rate (ASR) of 12 per million males. The 5-year relative survival rate is 69%, while squamous cell carcinoma is the predominant morphological entity. Each year around 650 persons in the EU develop cancer of the urethra and 7200 develop cancer of the renal pelvis or ureter (RPU). The ASR for cancer of the urethra and RPU is 1.1 (males 1.6; females 0.6) and 12 (males 16; females 7) per million inhabitants, respectively. The 5-year relative survival rate for cancer of the urethra and RPU is 54% and 51%, respectively. Transitional cell carcinoma is the predominant morphological entity of cancer of the urethra and RPU. In view of the low number of cases and the fact that one third to one half of the patients die of their disease, centralisation of treatment of these rare tumours to a select number of specialist centres should be promoted.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 11/2011; 48(4):456-64. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic information on rare cancers is scarce. The project Surveillance of Rare Cancers in Europe (RARECARE) provides estimates of the incidence, prevalence and survival of rare cancers in Europe based on a new and comprehensive list of these diseases. RARECARE analysed population-based cancer registry (CR) data on European patients diagnosed from 1988 to 2002, with vital status information available up to 31st December 2003 (latest date for which most CRs had verified data). The mean population covered was about 162,000,000. Cancer incidence and survival rates for 1995-2002 and prevalence at 1st January 2003 were estimated. Based on the RARECARE definition (incidence <6/100,000/year), the estimated annual incidence rate of all rare cancers in Europe was about 108 per 100,000, corresponding to 541,000 new diagnoses annually or 22% of all cancer diagnoses. Five-year relative survival was on average worse for rare cancers (47%) than common cancers (65%). About 4,300,000 patients are living today in the European Union with a diagnosis of a rare cancer, 24% of the total cancer prevalence. Our estimates of the rare cancer burden in Europe provide the first indication of the size of the public health problem due to these diseases and constitute a useful base for further research. Centres of excellence for rare cancers or groups of rare cancers could provide the necessary organisational structure and critical mass for carrying out clinical trials and developing alternative approaches to clinical experimentation for these cancers.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 11/2011; 47(17):2493-511. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The RARECARE project has proposed a different and more detailed grouping of cancers, based on localisation and histological type, in order to identify rare entities with clinical meaning. RARECARE gathered data on cancer patients diagnosed from 1978 to 2002 and archived in 76 population-based cancer registries, all of which had vital status information available up to at least 31st December 2003. This study provides incidence, prevalence and survival rates for rare head and neck epithelial (H&N) cancers. Among the rare H&N cancers, those of oral cavity had the highest annual crude incidence rate of 48 per million, followed by oropharynx and 'major salivary glands and salivary gland type tumours' (28 and 13 per million, respectively). Incidence rates of epithelial tumours of nasal cavities, nasopharynx, eye and adnexa and middle ears were all lower than 5 per million. The prevalence for all investigated entities was lower than 35 per 100,000. The 5-year relative survival rates ranged from 40% for epithelial cancer of oropharynx to 85% for epithelial cancer of eye and adnexa. Survival rates were lower for men and for patients aged ≥65 years. With few exceptions, the lowest and highest survival figures were observed for Eastern Europe and Northern Europe, respectively. According to the definition for rare tumours by RARECARE (incidence<6 per 100,000), as well as according to the definition for rare diseases by the European Commission (prevalence<50 per 100,000) the H&N cancers described in this paper should be considered rare and diagnosis and treatment of these cancers should therefore be centralised.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 11/2011; 48(6):783-96. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since Wilms' tumor occurs rarely in adults, there are no standard treatments available. Most adult patients will be diagnosed unexpectedly following nephrectomy for presumed renal cell carcinoma. Outcome for adults is inferior compared with children, although better results are reported when treated within pediatric trials. Multiple factors, including the unfamiliarity of adult oncologists and pathologists with Wilms' tumors, lack of standardized treatment and consequent delays in initiating the appropriate risk-adapted therapy, may contribute to the poor outcome. A standardized approach for the management of adult Wilms' tumors is proposed with the aim to limit treatment delay after surgery and encourage a uniform approach for this rare disease and thereby improve survival. These recommendations are based on discussions held with representatives of the renal tumor committees of the Society of Paediatric Oncology and Children's Oncology Group, and have been updated with a review of more recently published institutional and trial experience of adults treated on pediatric protocols. They provide a critical evaluation of the current evidence for the management of adult Wilms' tumors and propose details of how current pediatric therapeutic guidelines could be adapted for use in adults.
    Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy 07/2011; 11(7):1105-13. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: head and neck cancers are a heterogeneous group of malignancies, affecting various sites and subsites, with differing prognoses. The aim of this study was to analyse survival for European head and neck cancer patients in populations covered by population-based cancer registries (CRs), in relation to tumour subsite as prognostic factor. we analysed 51 912 adult head and neck cancer cases (36 322 mouth-pharynx and 15 590 larynx) diagnosed from 1995 to 1999 and archived by 45 CRs in 20 countries participating in EUROCARE-4. Five-year age-standardised relative survival was estimated for mouth-pharynx and larynx sites by sex and country. Relative survival was modelled to provide estimates of relative excess risks (RERs) of death by country, adjusted for confounding factors. a large but site-variable proportion of tumours were incompletely specified. Five-year age-standardised relative survival was low in Slovakia and high in The Netherlands. Adjustment for subsite reduced RERs of death for most countries; 5-year relative survival increased from 1990-1994 to 1995-1999 for all subsites, while between-country differences in survival narrowed. differences in subsite distribution explain a considerable part of the survival differences for head and neck cancers, however, incomplete/inaccurate subsite reporting complicate interpretation.
    Annals of Oncology 01/2011; 22(1):165-74. · 7.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Among all the childhood central nervous system tumours, medulloblastoma and other neuroectodermal tumours account for 16-25% of cases. The causative factors of medulloblastoma/PNET have not been well established. It is more frequent in boys than in girl and in children than in adults. There was a significant improvement of survival for children diagnosed in 2000-2002 compared to those diagnosed in 1995-1999. The risk of dying was reduced by 30%. Patients are generally divided into risk-stratified schemes on the basis of age, the extent of residual disease, and dissemination. Sixty to 70% of patients older than 3 years are assigned to the average-risk group. High-risk patients include those in the disseminated category, and in North American trials those that have less than a gross or near-total resection, which is arbitrarily defined as 1.5 cm(2) of post-operative residual disease. Current and currently planned clinical trials will:define molecular and biological markers that improve outcome prediction in patients with medulloblastoma and which can be incorporated for front-line stratification of newly defined risk subgroups.
    Critical reviews in oncology/hematology 12/2010; 79(1):65-83. · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify disparities in the management of colon and rectal cancer across Europe by assessing population-based information from 12 European cancer registries (CR) participating in EUROCARE, together with additional information obtained from individual clinical records. We considered five indicators: (a) resection with curative intent; (b) post-operative mortality; (c) proportion of stage II/III colon cancer cases given adjuvant chemotherapy; (d) proportion of rectal cancer cases receiving radiotherapy; and (e) proportion of curative intent resections with 12 or more lymph nodes examined. A total of 6 871 colorectal cancer patients, diagnosed between 1996-1998, were examined. Overall 71% of patients received resection with curative intent, range 44-86% by CR; 46% of stage III colon cancer cases (range 24-73% by CR) and 22% of stage II cases (not then recommended) received adjuvant chemotherapy; 12% of rectal cancer cases received adjuvant radiotherapy, range < or =2% in five CRs to >51% in two CRs. For only 29% of curative intent resections were 12 or more lymph nodes examined. This study reveals that, although most patients received surgery with curative intent, disparities in treatment for colorectal cancer across Europe in the late 1990s were unexpectedly large, with many patients not receiving treatments indicated by published clinical trials. Consensus guidelines for CRC management are now becoming available and should be adopted across Europe. It is hoped that dissemination of guidelines will improve the use of scientifically proven treatments for the disease, but this should be monitored by further population-based studies.
    Acta oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden) 08/2010; 49(6):776-83. · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to report on malignant digestive endocrine tumours (MDET) prognosis in several European countries. We analysed survival data from 19 cancer registries in 12 European countries on 3,715 MDET diagnosed between 1985 and 1994. The overall 5-year survival rate was 47.5%. It was 58.1% for differentiated MDET and 8.1% for small-cell MDET (p < 0.001), 55.9% for patients under 65 and 37.0% for older patients. Survival rates for small intestinal and colorectal were higher than for the other sites. The 5-year relative survival rates were 60.3% in Northern Europe, 53.6% in Western Continental Europe, 42.5% in the UK, 37.6% in Eastern Europe (p < 0.001). Among well-differentiated pancreatic tumours, 5-year relative survival was 55.6% for insulinoma, 48.4% for gastrinoma, 33.4% for glucagonoma, 28.8% for carcinoïd tumours and 49.9% for non-functioning tumours. The relative excess risk of death was significantly lower in Western Continental Europe and Northern Europe and significantly higher in Easter European compared to the UK. MDET differentiation, site, geographic area, age and sex, were independent prognostic factors. Overall, in Europe approximately half of the patients with MDET survive 5 years after the initial diagnosis. Prognosis varies with tumour differentiation, anatomic site and histological type. There are significant differences in survival from MDET among European countries, independently of other prognostic factors.
    International Journal of Cancer 06/2010; 126(12):2928 - 2934. · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Colon cancer is one of the leading tumours in the world and it is considered among the big killers, together with lung, prostate and breast cancer. In the recent years very important advances occurred in the field of treatment of this frequent disease: adjuvant chemotherapy was demonstrated to be effective, chiefly in stage III patients, and surgery was optimized in order to achieve the best results with a low morbidity. Several new target-oriented drugs are under evaluation and some of them (cetuximab and bevacizumab) have already exhibited a good activity/efficacy, mainly in combination with chemotherapy. The development of updated recommendations for the best management of these patients is crucial in order to obtain the best results, not only in clinical research but also in every-day practice. This report summarizes the most important achievements in this field and provides the readers useful suggestions for their professional practice.
    Critical reviews in oncology/hematology 02/2010; 74(2):106-33. · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Materials Science - J MATER SCI. 01/2010;
  • Otolaryngology-head and Neck Surgery - OTOLARYNGOL HEAD NECK SURG. 01/2010; 143(1):100-100.
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    ABSTRACT: The burden of rare tumors in Europe is still unknown and no generally accepted definition of them exist. The Surveillance of Rare Cancers in Europe project (funded by the European Commission) aimed at providing a definition of "rare cancer", a list of cancers and rare cancer burden indicators, based on population-based cancer registry data, across Europe. An international consensus group agreed that incidence is the most appropriate indicator for measuring rare cancers frequency and set the threshold for rarity at 6/100,000/year. The list of rare cancers was based on the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O 3rd edition) and it was hierarchically structured in 2 layers based on various combinations of ICD-O morphology and topography codes: layer (1) families of tumors (relevant for the health care organisation) and layer (2) tumors clinically meaningful (relevant for clinical decision making and research). The burden indicators were estimated and are provided in this chapter.
    Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2010; 686:285-303. · 1.83 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
775 Downloads
635.78 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996–2013
    • Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • Università degli Studi del Sannio
      Benevento, Campania, Italy
  • 2004–2010
    • Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo
      Bérgamo, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2004–2009
    • IEO - Istituto Europeo di Oncologia
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1991–2009
    • Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori
      Meldola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2008
    • Ospedale Maggiore Carlo Alberto Pizzardi di Bologna
      • Department of Medical Oncology
      Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
    • Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
      • Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2007
    • University Hospital of Lausanne
      Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
    • San Raffaele Scientific Institute
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • Istituto di Cura e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Basilicata
      Rionero in Vulture, Basilicate, Italy
  • 1992–2006
    • CRO Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano
      Aviano, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2003
    • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
      • Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2001
    • Centro di Riferimento per l'Epidemiologia e la Prevenzione Oncologica in Piemonte
      Torino, Piedmont, Italy
  • 1990–2001
    • Istituto Superiore di Sanità
      • National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1999
    • Eindhoven Cancer Registry
      Eindhoven, North Brabant, Netherlands
  • 1998
    • Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione Pascale"
      Napoli, Campania, Italy