Centro di Riferimento Oncologico (CRO), Aviano, National Cancer Institute

Address Via Franco Gallini, 2
I-33081 Aviano PN
Platforms ATMP & Biological, Biomarkers

The CRO National Cancer Institute (Centro di Riferimento Oncologico) was established in 1981 by the regional government of Friuli Venezia Giulia and began its activities in 1984.

It is located in Aviano (PN), in western Friuli within the province of Pordenone. Officially recognized by the Italian Ministry of Health in 1990, the CRO National Cancer Institute works to improve public health by advancing medical knowledge, providing outstanding specialty medical care to persons, and preparing tomorrow’s physicians, scientists and other health professionals in the field of oncology. It is a public, nonprofit institute operating under the authority of the Italian Health Ministry for the clinical & experimental research functions and shared in the governance by the Friuli Venezia Giulia region as for patient care.

Scientific Director: Paolo De Paoli, MD


The clinical activity focuses on oncological surgery, conformal, intra-operative, stereotactic radiotherapy and IMRT (high-energy accelerators – 6 to 18 MV – and an orthovoltage accelerator are in operation) and it is renowned for its programs in the medical treatment (intra-arterial chemotherapy, high-dosage chemotherapy) of the most frequent solid tumors, including rare neoplasias, and haematological neoplasias (lymphomas and chronic leukemias).

Our clinics perform an average of 378,740 patient exams/year and publish more than 230 scientific papers in journals with Impact Factors (IF>1000). Excellence rate: 18.74 (the 18.74 of CRO Aviano’s scientific output is included in the set of the 10% most cited papers in their respective scientific field). Our physicians admit 8,295 patients/year (approximately 50 percent are extra-regional) to the Institute for medium-long term stays and day hospital treatment. Our physicians and medical department staff provide hospital care in all aspects of oncology with particular emphasis on Onco-Hematology, Breast Surgery, Onco-Geriatrics, Pharmacogenetics/genomics and serve youth (14-19 years old) through a dedicated center in Radiation Therapy as well as the Youth Area.

CRO Aviano has a Breast Unit for conservation of physical integrity in surgery and therapeutic innovation in the region.



Research at CRO contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge, the prevention and treatment of disease, and the strengthening of our economy from collaborations with private industry. The current research activity is based on five research lines which are homogeneous and coherent with the Institute’s objectives, all focused on biomedical research in oncology. New indicators for the evaluation of Departmental research activity in line with policy directives of the Health Ministry have been adopted. The five lines are:

1 Tumor genetics and biology (basic and translational research)

2 Tumor epidemiology and prevention

3 Hematologic neoplasias. Translational and clinical research

4 Solid tumors. Translational research to better diagnosis and treatment

5 Infectious agents associated tumors

Clinical research is based on mono- and multidisciplinary therapeutic protocols (conservative surgery in breast cancer, combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy in locally advanced, non small-cell lung cancer, interdisciplinary treatment of soft tissue sarcomas and ovarian tumors). Innovative protocols concern: Phase I-II studies of new drugs in metastatic tumors; therapeutic schemes specifically designed for elderly patients and patients with AIDS.

Experimental research focuses on gene alterations as well as neoplastic transformation and progression; mechanisms of cell adhesion and migration; role of growth factors and growth factor receptors in hematological neoplasias; mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance; diet and cancer.

Multidisciplinary research facility & technology transfer

The Core research facility CF1 Pharmacogenomics and tumor proteomics is funded by the Consortium for Biomedical Molecular Medicine to provide facilities and resources for peer-reviewed clinical studies. Our goal is to play a major role in facilitating innovative scientific advances which will impact broadly across aspects of human health. Its development will allow it to mature into a vital resource for the CRO National Cancer Institute for quality technology transfer by interacting with other research institutes, industry, governmental institutions, development agencies, financial agencies and service centers.


Graduate Education

Several departmental programs have established fellowships where graduate students can conduct research training to reflect the cross-disciplinary nature of training in the sciences present within the Center.

The research environment at the CRO National Cancer Institute offers graduate students a wealth of opportunities to advance their education. The newest tools in biomedical research are readily available and multidisciplinary research is fostered. A campus open to students worldwide but with particular attention to Eastern Europe in the future is at present under construction.

Registers and Biobanks

CRO is the leader of the Regional Cancer Register (Registro Tumori di Popolazione della Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia) and participates in several research projects (two are sponsored by the European Union; one is sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Health) aiming at the implementation of biobanks.


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