Cancers in patients with hemophilia: a retrospective study from the Italian Association of Hemophilia Centers


Massimo Franchini, Immunohematology and Transfusion Center, Hospital of Mantova, Mantova, Italy.
Tel.: +39 376 201234; fax: +39 376 220144.


Summary. Background: The increased life expectancy of the hemophilia population, primarily as a result of advances in factor replacement therapy, has enabled hemophiliacs to reach an older age. Consequently, age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disorders and cancers, are being increasingly recognized in such patients. However, only few data are available on such co-morbidities, their management and impact on the primary bleeding disorders. Objectives: With the aim of investigating several still unclear issues regarding cancers in hemophilia patients, we conducted, on behalf the Italian Association of Hemophilia Centers (AICE), a study on cancers among Italian hemophiliacs. Patients: Data pertaining to 122 hemophiliacs with 127 cancers between 1980 and 2010 were retrospectively collected in 21 centers of the AICE which chose to participate. Results:  Sixty-nine percent of cancers were recorded during the decade 2001–2010. Eighty-three percent of patients were infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and 22% of them were also co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Forty-three percent of cancers were HCV-related, whereas 9% were HIVrelated. Virus-related cancers were more frequent and non-virus-related cancers less frequent in patients with severe hemophilia than in those with mild/moderate forms (P = 0.0004). The non-virus-related standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was 0.3. Hemorrhagic complications occurred more frequently in patients undergoing chemotherapy (14%) or radiotherapy (19%). Conclusions: The results of the present study confirm that cancers have become a new challenge for physicians working in hemophilia centers and underline the need for prospective trials to better assess the epidemiology and to optimize the management of hemophiliacs with cancer.