Roxanne Nelson

September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011 — Integrating basic and translational science, surgery, radiotherapy, medical oncology, and care — that is the new tagline for the upcoming 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, which will begin next week in Stockholm, Sweden.

This year's conference — with an estimated 15,000 attendees — is building on the success of the 2009 Congress, and will not only reiterate "the unique multidisciplinary essence of the congresses, but will also emphasize the relevance, role, and participation of each and every specialty."

In addition, it will feature potentially practice-changing results from a large number of late-breaking phase 3 clinical trials.

This is a very large multidisciplinary meeting and is important because it brings together basic science and clinical science, explained Michael Baumann, MD, president of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) and Congress chair.

For the past 2 decades, the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress has been held every 2 years to promote the need for a multidisciplinary approach to cancer. In 2011, it will be jointly hosted by ECCO, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), and the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. According to ECCO, this is the only congress in Europe that covers the entire spectrum of cancer, ranging from the basic science and translational research, to prevention, treatment, nursing, and supportive care.

The world of oncology is constantly changing, said Dr. Baumann in an interview on "One of the things that we are experiencing in clinical practice every day is that we treat our patients in multidisciplinary teams," he noted. "There are not many patients in Europe who still get monodisciplinary treatment — we do it together as a team."

All of us will face personalized medicine during our lifetime in medicine.

It is necessary to have a meeting place where radiation, medical, and surgical oncologists can come together and exchange knowledge and ideas, said Dr. Baumann, who is a professor of radiation oncology at the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany

There will be many state-of-the-art lectures, he added, and the "scientific sessions which will give you an idea of what the future is going to bring for your patients. All of us will face personalized medicine during our lifetime in medicine," he stated.

Five New Tracks

At the Congress, the largest oncology meeting in Europe (with more than 2000 presentations), experts will discuss the latest advances in prevention, treatment and survivorship, proteomics, biomarkers, pharmacogenomics, and imaging. There will also be discussions about the latest evidence in epidemiologic trends, complementary therapies, and quality-of-life issues.

In addition, 5 new tracks will be featured, including one for industry and "oncotechnology." The "oncopolicy" track, which is aimed at strengthening European policy on cancer research and care, was launched at the 2009 Congress and will continue to tackle issues that are important to the European cancer community.

Personalized Medicine at the Forefront

Personalized medicine is a relatively new paradigm in cancer care, and is based on improved integration of the biologic background of both the host and tumor. It is hoped that this integration will enhance diagnosis, prognosis, and subsequent treatment, and that it has the potential to help change the landscape of oncology, explained Jean-Charles Soria, MD, PhD, who is ESMO scientific cochair.

[There will be] quite a bit of interesting material that can make the promise of personalized medicine a reality.

"At the meeting, we will have data on predictive biomarkers for the use of antiangiogenic agents, KRAS mutations, and the role of EGFR in colorectal cancer — quite a bit of interesting material that can make the promise of personalized medicine a reality," said Dr. Soria, who is a medical oncologist at Institut Gustave Roussy, Paris, France, and professor of medicine and medical oncology at Paris University XI.

Practice-Changing Data?

Also being presented are the number of phase 3 trials. "This year we have been extremely successful at harvesting never-presented phase 3 trials, both from pharma and some collaborative groups," Dr. Soria told Medscape Medical News, "so the presidential sessions are very exciting."

At these sessions, there will presentations on trials in basal cell carcinoma, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, and breast cancer. "This is a very broad range of phase 3 trials looking at different tumor types," Dr. Soria said, "all of which [will be] completely new to the audience."

This aspect of it is very important, he emphasized. "This makes ECCO/ESMO not only an educational meeting, but truly a meeting in which we have put in a lot of hard work and effort to convince the industry that Europe is a major player in drug development and the daily management of cancer patients."

"I think we have been heard. There are more than 6 late-breaking phase 3 trials in the presidential sessions that are brand new," he added. "Of course, the results of many other trials will be presented in the oral sessions."

The educational material will be of a high standard, Dr. Soria explained. "We will have up-to-date...practice-changing clinical trials."

Presenting brand new data is very important. One of the drawbacks of European meetings in the past has been that they presented what was presented a few months earlier at American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Soria pointed out.

2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress. September 23-27, 2011.