Thursday, December 12, 2019
IRST - Meldola
Useful contacts

Dr Valentina Zampiga - Referring Biologist
phone +39 0543 739233
phone +39 0543 739908
from monday to friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Dr Ilaria Cangini - Examining Biologist
phone +39 0543 739233
phone +39 0543 739908
from monday to friday  8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



Dr Daniele Calistri
(Biologist in chief)

Dr Fabio Falcini
(Referring Specialist)

Dr Danesi Rita
(Cytogeneticist in chief)

Dr Valentina Zampiga
(Genetic Counselling Referring Biologist)

Dr Francesca Pirini

Dr Mila Ravegnani
(Geneticist Biologist)

Dr Gianluca Tedaldi

Sede di Rimini
Dr Valentina Arcangeli

Genetic Counselling

Italian version

The Biosciences Laboratory, in collaboration with the Cancer Prevention Services of the Local Health Authority of Romagna (Forlì, Cesena and Ravenna), is responsible for identifying genetic factors involved in a predisposition to cancer and for activating appropriate prevention strategies for individuals at risk.

The individuals who are candidates for genetic testing are essentially all those with a suspected hereditary predisposition to the development of specific cancers.

Genetic counselling begins with an interview (cancer prevention and/or oncology services) to verify whether there are sufficient grounds to suspect a familiarity to specific cancers. If confirmed, a family risk evaluation is performed to identify the presence of genetic alterations, followed by a preventive diagnostic program.


What is genetic counselling?
Genetic counselling is an interview during which a patient's family and personal medical history is constructed via a genealogical tree to identify potential genetic risks of cancer of the breast, ovary, stomach, colon and other organs.

When is genetic counselling recommended?
In persons with a hereditary disease, genetic counselling is useful to identify the most appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic strategy. Healthy people with relatives suffering from a hereditary disease can also use genetic counselling to understand whether there is a risk that the disease will recur in the family and, if necessary, to adopt adequate prevention measures.

Are tumours hereditary diseases?
Tumours are diseases that form over time following cellular alterations. These changes accumulate and are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors (lifestyle, diet, etc.).
Si può parlare di:

  • "sporadic" tumour   if there is an isolated case in a family and there are no suspicions that link the cancer to the presence of a predisposing factor.  80% of cases of breast and ovarian cancer fall into this category;
  • "familial" tumour  if member of a family with the disease are close relatives (parents, siblings, children);
  • "hereditary" tumour if an inheritable genetic alteration capable of conferring a high risk of cancer, even at a young age, has been identified within the family.

As breast cancer is a frequent disease after the age of 50, its diagnosis in several members of a family in this age group may, in some cases, be entirely due to chance.

However, it is necessary to underline that if a person inherits a gene that predisposes to the development of cancer, the disease will develop only if other alterations occur over time.
Thus, a tumour is never inherited but rather a predisposition to the development of a tumor.
Is It important to identify individuals with an increased genetic risk?
If a family is identified with a genetic risk for cancer, preventive measures can be adopted, even in young people. Moreover, in some cases it is possible to identify members of a family at high genetic risk who do not have a genetic predisposition. In such cases, the risk of developing the disease is comparable to that of the general population.
The Biosciences Laboratory performs many of the molecular tests needed to identify persons with a genetic risk.  In particular, the analysis of BRCA1/2 genes, which are associated with a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer, has been carried out in the laboratory for several years.

Who is the service directed at?
The Genetic Counselling Service is directed at all those who suspect they have a hereditary risk of developing cancer.  An appointment can be made with the institute’s geneticist to evaluate the real probability of having a hereditary predisposition and, if needed, to organize specific genetic testing.

Molecular analysis can also be performed for patients from catchment areas outside that of the Wide Catchment Area of Romagna (Area Vasta Romagna - AVR).  All patients are required to have undergone professional genetic counselling and reconstruction of their family history before any molecular analyses can be performed.  Furthermore, the geneticist following a non AVR patient must first contact the Biosciences Laboratory by phone or e-mail before sending material for evaluation (see "Useful contacts").

What tests are performed in the laboratory?
The list of tests that can be performed in our laboratory is growing rapidly, and it is possible to analyse an ever-increasing number of genes involved in a hereditary predisposition to cancer.
The Genetic Counselling Service can, when necessary, refer a patient to other national and international laboratories for specific genetic analyses than cannot, at present, be carried out in our laboratory.

Regional legislation
1st January 2012: Emilia-Romagna Regional Executive Order 220/2011 and subsequent implementing Circular No. 21 of 29.12.2011 instituted an approach for the identification and monitoring of the hereditary/familial risk in female residents of Emilia-Romagna.
This program identified IRST IRCCS as the Reference and Coordinating Center (HUB) of the Satellite Centers (Spoke) of Forli, Cesena, Ravenna and Rimini. This permitted the Institute to assume the responsibility for women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, provide an in-depth risk evaluation, carry out any necessary genetic tests, and plan a surveillance program on the basis of the risk profile identified during the consultation.
Specialist outpatient services provided in accordance with specific surveillance protocols, together with genetic evaluation and testing, are exempt from medical charges pursuant to Legislative Decree 124/98 in that they are considered part of an organized regional program of early diagnosis.

For professionals: to view the table with the list of tests that can be performed in the Biosciences Laboratory, the documents to present when requesting a test, the costs and the referral times, click here.

Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (I.R.S.T.) S.r.l.
Sede legale: 47014 Meldola (FC) Via Piero Maroncelli, 40
Capitale Sociale interamente versato Euro 20.000.000,00 - R.E.A. 288572 (FC)
Reg. Imprese FC/Cod. Fisc./Partita IVA 03154520401
Tel. 0543 739100 - Fax 0543 739123
e-mail: - internet: