Attributable Fraction of Cancer Related to Occupational Exposure in Italy

Giulia Collatuzzo, Federica Turati, Matteo Malvezzi, Eva Negri, Carlo La Vecchia, Paolo Boffetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to occupational carcinogens is an important and avoidable cause of cancer. We aimed to provide an evidence-based estimate of the burden of occupation-related cancers in Italy. Methods: The attributable fraction (AF) was calculated based on the counterfactual scenario of no occupational exposure to carcinogens. We included exposures classified as IARC group 1 and with reliable evidence of exposure in Italy. Relative risk estimates for selected cancers and prevalences of exposure were derived from large-scale studies. Except for mesothelioma, a 15–20-year latency period between exposure and cancer was considered. The data on cancer incidence in 2020 and mortality in 2017 in Italy were obtained from the Italian Association of Cancer Registries. Results: The most prevalent exposures were UV radiation (5.8%), diesel exhaust (4.3%), wood dust (2.3%) and silica dust (2.1%). Mesothelioma had the largest AF to occupational carcinogens (86.6%), followed by sinonasal cancer (11.8%) and lung cancer (3.8%). We estimated that 0.9% of cancer cases (N~3500) and 1.6% of cancer deaths (N~2800) were attributable to occupational carcinogens in Italy. Of these, about 60% were attributable to asbestos, 17.5% to diesel exhaust, followed by chromium and silica dust (7% and 5%). Conclusions: Our estimates provide up-to-date quantification of the low, but persistent, burden of occupational cancers in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2234
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • attributable fraction
  • cancer
  • epidemiology
  • occupation
  • occupational carcinogens
  • occupational exposure


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