89 cases of pleural mesothelioma per year were found in Italy from 2003-2009; Research

Mortality in Italy

Researchers have found that pleural mesothelioma resulted in 1.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in Italy.

This research has been published online in the journal of Annali dell’Istituto superiore di sanita.

Researchers worked on the cases of pleural mesothelioma in Italy in the period from 2003 to 2009 (excluding the years 2004 and 2005 for which the data was not available) obtained from the data of National Mortality database (NMD), which is managed by the Statistics Unit of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy’s National Health Institute) and based on data provided by ISTAT (Italy’s National Statistics Institute).

Researchers found that the mortality rate was more than double in men than in women. In men, mortality rate from pleural mesothelioma was 4.60 while in women it was 1.34 in the age range of 40-75 years. Highest rates were found in the Northern regions of Italy such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia with a rate of 3.0, Liguria with a rate of 5.4, Lombardia with a rate of 2.4 and Piemonte with a rate of 3.0. According to the research, annual number of cases from the period 2003 to 2009 was 89.

You can read the abstract of the paper here,

Aim.Introduction. Spatial distribution of mortality from pleural mesothelioma (which in the ICD-10 Revision has a specific code: C45.0) in Italy for the period 2003-2009 is described. Previous mortality studies at national level employed the topographic code “Malignant neoplasms of pleura”, because of unavailability of a specific code in ICD-9 Revision for pleural mesothelioma. Methods. Standardized mortality ratios were computed for all municipalities, using each regional population as reference; for municipalities in Regions with rate higher than the national rate, the latter has been used as reference. SMRs were computed specifically also for each Italian Polluted Sites “of national concern for environmental remediation” (IPS) with asbestos exposure sources, composed by one or more municipalities, using regional rate as reference. Spatial Scan Statistics procedure, using SatScan software, was applied in cluster analysis: the country was divided into geographic macro-areas and the relative risks (RR) express the ratio of risk within the cluster to the risk of the macro-area outside the cluster. Clusters with p-value < 0.10 were selected. Results. The national standardized annual mortality rate was 1.7 cases per 100 000. Several areas with evident burden of asbestos-related disease were detected. Significant clusters were found in correspondence to asbestos-cement industries (e.g. Casale Monferrato, women: RR = 28.7), shipyards (e.g. Trieste, men: RR = 4.8), petrochemical industries (e.g. Priolo, men: RR = 6.9) and a stone quarry contaminated by fluoro-edenite fibres (Biancavilla, women: RR = 25.9). Some of the increased clusters correspond to IPS. Conclusions. The results may contribute to detect asbestos exposure and to set priorites for environmental remediation.


Fazzo L, Minelli G, De Santis M, Bruno C, Zona A, Marinaccio A, Conti S, Pirastu R, Comba P., (2012). Mesothelioma mortality surveillance and asbestos exposure tracking in Italy. Ann Ist Super Sanita., 48(3):300-310.


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