Occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs in seven Italian hospitals: The effect of quality assurance and adherence to guidelines

Roberta Turci, Claudio Minoia, Cristina Sottani, Raffaella Coghi, Paolo Severi, Cecilia Castriotta, Massimo Del Bianco, Marcello Imbriani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In health care facilities, dermal contact and inhalation are considered to be the main routes of exposure to cytotoxic antineoplastic drugs (ADs). Hand-to-mouth contamination or accidental needle sticks as well as events due to inadequate disposal may also contribute to exposure. In order to measure the extent of contamination, biological and environmental monitoring are essential tools for routine testing. Moreover, reliable sampling and analytical procedures are required. During the last decade, several methods have been developed and validated. The appropriate analytical techniques were used to quantify even very low levels of some of the more commonly used ADs, such as cyclophosphamide, 5-fluoruracil, taxol, anthracyclines, and platinum-compounds. The main objective of this study is to assess the adherence to existing standards of practice through an effective monitoring program, including environmental and biological measurements. In seven hospitals located in Northern-Central Italy, periodic surveys were scheduled to verify continuing compliance with guidelines over a 5-year period. All biological samples were found to be below detection limits and a progressive, significant decrease in workplace contamination was observed. Our results confirm that a cost-effective monitoring regime, including fast and simple sample pre-treatment procedures, simultaneous determination of the analytes and their metabolites, validated procedures including uncertainty evaluation, and periodic surveys, is the adequate approach for the collection of reliable exposure data and hence for effective intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-332
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Antineoplastic drugs
  • monitoring strategies
  • occupational exposure
  • quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs in seven Italian hospitals: The effect of quality assurance and adherence to guidelines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this