Paolo Boffetta

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Paolo Boffetta
Born (1958-07-19) July 19, 1958 (age 60)
Turin, Italy
ResidenceNew York, NY, United States
Alma materUniversity of Turin
Known forhis research on cancer epidemiology
Scientific career
InstitutionsIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Paolo Boffetta (born July 19, 1958) is an Italian epidemiologist. He is doing research on cancer and other chronic diseases, where he contributed to the understanding of the role of occupation, environment, alcohol, smoking and nutrition in disease development.


A video of Paolo Boffetta discussing his research with the World Trade Center Health Program to reconstruct first responders' exposure to carcinogens during the September 11 attacks

Boffetta was born in Turin, Italy, went to the Vittorio Alfieri High School in Turin, and studied medicine at the University of Turin and received a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1982, after which he became a resident at the Second Division of Internal Medicine and Research Fellow and Research Assistant at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit of the University of Turin.

After some years, he moved to New York City and worked as a Research Assistant at the Department of Statistics and Epidemiology of the American Cancer Society (1986–88). He became a Research Assistant at the Division of Epidemiology of the American Health Foundation in New York, in 1988 and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Division of Environmental Sciences and Post-Doctoral Associate at the Division of Health Policy and Management of Columbia University, School of Public Health in New York (1988–89), where he was awarded a M.P.H..

In 1990, he moved to Lyon, France, to join the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC, first as Medical Officer until 1994 and later as Chief of the Unit of Environmental Cancer Epidemiology (1995–2003). During this time he was also Visiting Scientist at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, US National Cancer Institute, in Washington (1998/99), Foreign Adjunct Professor, at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Microbiology and Tumour Biology Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (2000–2006).[1]

In 2003, he moved on to the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, where he headed the Division of Clinical Epidemiology. He was awarded a Professorship for Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Heidelberg in the same year.

Only a year later Boffetta moved back to IARC, Lyon to become Group Head and Coordinator of the Genetics and Epidemiology Cluster[2] there.

In 2009 he joined the faculty of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY, as Professor,[3] Associate Director for Population Sciences of the Tisch Cancer Institute and Division Chief, Cancer Prevention and Control, Department of Oncological Sciences. During 2010-2015, he was Director of the Institute for Translational Epidemiology.

He is Fellow of the R. Samuel McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Canada, and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA,[4] at the Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University,[5] Nashville, USA, at the Department of Public Health of the Catholic University in Rome, Italy, and at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, as well as Visiting Professor at the University of Turin.

He was Vice President of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon during 2009-2013.[6] In 2013 Dr. Boffetta was offered and accepted the Directorship of the Center for Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP) in Villejuif, France. However, he rescinded his acceptance before starting his tenure because he became the target of a series of unsubstantiated personal attacks.

He regularly serves as chair or member of national and international committees, including in particular review committees of the US National Institute of Health and the National Academy of Sciences. He is a fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences and the New York Academy of Medicine.

Scientific merits[edit]

Boffetta's specific field of research is the study of environmental factors for cancer.[7] He always was very much interested in international collaboration why he was founding member and member of the executive committee of the several international research consortia, e.g. Interlymph – Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma consortium (2001–08), the ILCCO – Lung cancer consortium (2003-), the INHANCE – Head and neck cancer consortium (2004-), the PANC4 – Pancreatic cancer consortium and the ESC3 – Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma consortium. Currently Boffetta is involved in several case-control studies of molecular epidemiology in different organs and countries around the world (among are: lung, head and neck, kidney and pancreatic cancer in Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the UK; head and neck cancer in Brazil, Argentina and Cuba; lymphoma in France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Czech Republic). Cohort studies with his participation are running in Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Finland and Israel for lung cancer risk among asphalt workers; and in Iran for esophageal cancer. Other studies where he is the principal investigator are the retrospective mortality study and cohort study of alcohol-associated cancers in Western Siberia, Russia; the Case-only and case-control study of hepatocellular carcinoma within the International Liver Cancer Study (3 centers in Thailand, Egypt and Italy); or the Case-control study of esophageal cancer in high-risk populations (2 centers in Iran and India).

Paolo Boffetta is a Member of the Steering Committee of the Asia Cohort Consortium (ACC)[8] and was Chair of the Molecular Epidemiology Group (MEG) of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2008–2009).[9]

He has been heavily involved in teaching activities during all his academic and research positions; e.g., at IARC he held the post of Director, IARC Course Programme (2000–2003 and 2004–2009). Further one he was Director of the IARC Fellowship Programme (2004–2009) and a Member of the UICC Fellowship Committee (2000–2009). He is currently coordinator of the epidemiology training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Currently he is a Member of the editorial board of several scientific journals including Annals of Oncology (Associate Editor), Biomarkers, Cancer Discovery, Cancer Medicine, Disease Markers, European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Frontiers in Molecular Epidemiology (Editor), International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Section Editor). He is the Editor in Chief of the 3rd Edition of Elsevier's Encyclopaedia of Cancer.

Paolo Boffetta has published more than 1,150 scientific articles and 60 book chapters as well as is editor of 13 books and several journal supplements, and has authored several other non-English and non-scientific articles about smoking and drinking prevention. His H-index is 90 (Web of Science) and 127 (Google Scholar).[10] He is listed among the top 20 Italian scientists.[11]


  1. ^ Newsletter MEP, KI
  2. ^ Biographical sketch of Paolo Boffetta at IARC Archived 2010-04-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Contact details of Paolo Boffetta at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Archived 2010-10-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Contact details of Paolo Boffetta at the Harvard School of Public Health
  5. ^ Press release about new appointments at Vanderbilt University
  6. ^ "Paolo Boffettas' biography on the website of International Prevention Research Institute". Archived from the original on 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  7. ^ Abstract of Contribution of environmental factors to cancer risk, Br Med Bull. 2003;68:71-94.
  8. ^ General Membership Meeting Agenda, ACC Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Conference about the Future of Molecular Epidemiology, AACR[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Paolo Boffetta's publications
  11. ^ [1]

External links[edit]