ESMO Award

The esteemed ESMO Award was established in 1985 to recognise an ESMO member who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of medical oncology by promoting it as a speciality within the European and/or international community.

All awardees have made an outstanding contribution to the development of medical oncology and recognise the importance of promoting medical oncology as a speciality within the international community.

2014 ESMO Congress, Madrid – Carsten Bokemeyer, University Cancer Center Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

Carsten Bokemeyer currently serves on the ESMO Faculty on gastrointestinal cancers as well as on supportive and palliative care. He is a founding member of the international education initiative Molecular Targeted Therapy of Cancer and a past Chair of the ESMO Examination Committee. Bokemeyer is on the editorial board of Annals of Oncology, is a member of several national and international guideline groups, and was a scientific committee member for the ESMO and ASCO congresses during 2011-2013.

Carsten Bokemeyer is a world leader in the pathogenesis and biology of malignant germ cell tumours. His discoveries include identifying the early stages of malignant germ cell transformation and the mechanisms of resistance of germ cell tumours to chemotherapy. He has also developed new therapeutic concepts with cytostatic drugs and immunotherapy in solid tumours. Currently Director of the University Cancer Center Hamburg, one of Germany’s designated centres of excellence in oncology, Bokemeyer has been Visiting Research Professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Visiting Professor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA.

Carsten Bokemeyer

It is truly a great honour for me to receive the ESMO Award. I feel at home in this society which has been for me the leader for many structural, educational and scientific developments in oncology throughout Europe for many years. I have had the privilege to work together with many talented and dedicated colleagues and I feel the award acknowledges our common achievements in education and research in the field of medical oncology.
Being recognised by such an important award always means there were many good teachers, role models and important co-workers who have contributed to my role in oncology. I would like to cordially thank them at this moment.

Carsten Bokemeyer

Josep Tabernero, Chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, in charge of continuously identifying international researchers and clinicians worthy of recognition, said: “Carsten Bokemeyer is undeniably a thought leader within the medical oncology field. He has also succeeded in elegantly integrating and connecting physician-researcher duality. Such committed efforts have accelerated the transition of cancer discovery into real benefit at patient level.

Carsten Bokemeyer has selflessly volunteered his invaluable time as past Chair of ESMO’s Examination Working Group, which undoubtedly contributed to the timely recognition of our specialty throughout the world. Currently serving on the ESMO Faculty, his expertise and guidance are further called upon to advise on pain management and improved quality of life for our cancer patients facing the severity of this disease.”

Bokemeyer’s other current appointments include elected spokesman of the clinical departments and institutes at the University Hospital Hamburg. He has been Professor for Internal Medicine and Director of the Department of Internal Medicine II at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf since 2005.

Previous winners of the ESMO Award

2013 – Cora Sternberg, Italy

Prof Sternberg is an internationally respected leader in the field of urological malignancies: she has been elected Board Member of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) for three terms; ESMO Faculty Coordinator for Genitourinary Tumours for many years and also served on the ESMO Nominating Committee, which is responsible for identifying candidates for ESMO high-level posts. Prof. Sternberg is currently the Solid Tumor editor of Critical Reviews in Oncology and Hematology and the Genitourinary Cancer editor for the European Journal of Cancer. She was presented with the 2013 ESMO Award during the European Cancer Congress held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Best known for her seminal work in bladder cancer, research on targeted agents in renal cell carcinoma and novel therapies for prostate cancer, Prof Sternberg is Chief of the Department of Medical Oncology at the San Camillo Forlanini Hospital and Adjunct Professor at La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. Honours bestowed upon her in Italy include the title ‘Grande Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana’ and the Premio Minerva for Scientific Achievement, XVIII Edition for Achievements in Science.

2012 – Ian Tannock, Canada

The 2012 ESMO Award was bestowed upon Professor Ian Tannock  for his work on clinical trials for men with metastatic prostate cancer and laboratory-based research on the micro-environment of solid tumours, their resistance to drugs and methods to overcome it. The Award recognises his tremendous contributions in improving methodology for undertaking clinical trials with emphasis on endpoints of clinical benefit and, at a laboratory level, unmasking aspects of solid tumour biology as well as improving outcomes of treatment with chemotherapy.

Based at the University of Toronto, Canada, where he is Professor of Medicine and Medical Biophysics, Prof. Tannock has led and helped to design trials that led to the identification of optimal chemotherapy for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

  • 2011 - Johann de Bono, United Kingdom
  • 2010 - Alberto Costa, Italy
  • 2009 - E.G. Elisabeth de Vries, The Netherlands
  • 2008 - J.P. Armand, France
  • 2007 - J.B. Vermorken, Belgium
  • 2006 - D.J. Kerr, United Kingdom
  • 2005 - J. Baselga, Spain
  • 2004 - A.T. van Oosterom, Belgium
  • 2002 - M. Schneider, France
  • 2000 - R. Souhami, United Kingdom
  • 1998 - D.J.Th. Wagener, The Netherlands
  • 1997 - M. Piccart, Belgium
  • 1995 - S.B. Kaye, United Kingdom
  • 1993 - P. Alberto, Switzerland
  • 1991 - F. Cavalli, Switzerland
  • 1989 - G. Bonadonna, Italy
  • 1987 - H.H. Hansen, Denmark
  • 1985 - H.M. Pinedo, The Netherlands

Selection process

Candidates for the award are considered by the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee of renowned cancer leaders. After careful deliberations by the committee, its recommendations are forwarded to the ESMO Executive Board for final consideration and selection.

The choice of the award winner is made on the basis of the candidate's scientific accomplishments. No regard will be given to race, gender, and nationality, religious or political views.

The award consists of a statuette and free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses to either the ESMO or the ECC Congress.