Mental adjustment to cancer has been explored in a large body of the literature by using the Mental Adjustment to Cancer (MAC) scale. Problems in the factor structure of the scale and the need for refining the instrument have determined the development of the Mini-MAC. The aim of this study was to validate, according to a test-oriented approach, the Italian version of the Mini-MAC. Four hundred and thirty cancer patients in five centres in Northern Italy completed the Mini-MAC and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). A subgroup of 153 patients filled out the instruments again within 3 months of the first assessment. The five original subscales (Fighting Spirit, Hopeless, Fatalism, Anxious Preoccupation and Cognitive Avoidance) showed acceptable levels of reliability (Cronbach alpha coefficients ranging from 0.55 to 0.80) although alphas were lower for the scales Fighting Spirit and Fatalism. Factor analysis (Varimax rotation) identified the same five factors with minor variations from the original version. Again, alpha coefficients were less robust for the factors Fighting Sprit and Fatalism. Hopeless and Anxious Preoccupation were significantly related to all the BSI psychological stress symptoms, including the Global Stress Index (GSI). Test-retest reliability showed no differences in the sub-scales scores between assessments.