Italian cancer figures--Report 2015

Susanna Busco, Carlotta Buzzoni, Sandra Mallone, Annalisa Trama, Marine Castaing, Francesca Bella, Rosalba Amodio, Sabrina Bizzoco, Tiziana Cassetti, Claudia Cirilli, Rosanna Cusimano, Roberta De Angelis, Mario Fusco, Gemma Gatta, Valerio Gennaro, Adriano Giacomin, Paolo Giorgi Rossi, Lucia Mangone, Salvatore Mannino, Silvia RossiDaniela Pierannunzio, Andrea Tavilla, Sandro Tognazzo, Rosario Tumino, Massimo Vicentini, Maria Francesca Vitale, Emanuele Crocetti, Luigino Dal Maso, AIRTUM Working Group, Rosa Filiberti

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OBJECTIVES: This collaborative study, based on data collected by the network of Italian Cancer Registries (AIRTUM), describes the burden of rare cancers in Italy. Estimated number of new rare cancer cases yearly diagnosed (incidence), proportion of patients alive after diagnosis (survival), and estimated number of people still alive after a new cancer diagnosis (prevalence) are provided for about 200 different cancer entities.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data herein presented were provided by AIRTUM population- based cancer registries (CRs), covering nowadays 52% of the Italian population. This monograph uses the AIRTUM database (January 2015), which includes all malignant cancer cases diagnosed between 1976 and 2010. All cases are coded according to the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O-3). Data underwent standard quality checks (described in the AIRTUM data management protocol) and were checked against rare-cancer specific quality indicators proposed and published by RARECARE and HAEMACARE (; The definition and list of rare cancers proposed by the RARECAREnet "Information Network on Rare Cancers" project were adopted: rare cancers are entities (defined as a combination of topographical and morphological codes of the ICD-O-3) having an incidence rate of less than 6 per 100,000 per year in the European population. This monograph presents 198 rare cancers grouped in 14 major groups. Crude incidence rates were estimated as the number of all new cancers occurring in 2000-2010 divided by the overall population at risk, for males and females (also for gender-specific tumours).The proportion of rare cancers out of the total cancers (rare and common) by site was also calculated. Incidence rates by sex and age are reported. The expected number of new cases in 2015 in Italy was estimated assuming the incidence in Italy to be the same as in the AIRTUM area. One- and 5-year relative survival estimates of cases aged 0-99 years diagnosed between 2000 and 2008 in the AIRTUM database, and followed up to 31 December 2009, were calculated using complete cohort survival analysis. To estimate the observed prevalence in Italy, incidence and follow-up data from 11 CRs for the period 1992-2006 were used, with a prevalence index date of 1 January 2007. Observed prevalence in the general population was disentangled by time prior to the reference date (≤2 years, 2-5 years, ≤15 years). To calculate the complete prevalence proportion at 1 January 2007 in Italy, the 15-year observed prevalence was corrected by the completeness index, in order to account for those cancer survivors diagnosed before the cancer registry activity started. The completeness index by cancer and age was obtained by means of statistical regression models, using incidence and survival data available in the European RARECAREnet data.RESULTS: In total, 339,403 tumours were included in the incidence analysis. The annual incidence rate (IR) of all 198 rare cancers in the period 2000-2010 was 147 per 100,000 per year, corresponding to about 89,000 new diagnoses in Italy each year, accounting for 25% of all cancer. Five cancers, rare at European level, were not rare in Italy because their IR was higher than 6 per 100,000; these tumours were: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and squamous cell carcinoma of larynx (whose IRs in Italy were 7 per 100,000), multiple myeloma (IR: 8 per 100,000), hepatocellular carcinoma (IR: 9 per 100,000) and carcinoma of thyroid gland (IR: 14 per 100,000). Among the remaining 193 rare cancers, more than two thirds (No. 139) had an annual IR 6 per 100,000 in Italy, in particular thyroid cancer (IR: 14 per 100,000).The exclusion of thyroid carcinoma from rare cancers reduces the proportion of them in Italy in 2010 to 22%. Differences in incidence across population can be due to the different distribution of risk factors (whether environmental, lifestyle, occupational, or genetic), heterogeneous diagnostic intensity activity, as well as different diagnostic capacity; moreover heterogeneity in accuracy of registration may determine some minor differences in the account of rare cancers. Rare cancers had worse prognosis than common cancers at 1, 3, and 5 years from diagnosis. Differences between rare and common cancers were small 1 year after diagnosis, but survival for rare cancers declined more markedly thereafter, consistent with the idea that treatments for rare cancers are less effective than those for common cancers. However, differences in stage at diagnosis could not be excluded, as 1- and 3-year RS for rare cancers was lower than the corresponding figures for common cancers. Moreover, rare cancers include many cancer entities with a bad prognosis (5-year RS
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-120
Number of pages120
JournalEpidemiologia e prevenzione
Issue number1 Suppl 2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 10 2016


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