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

The 2016 ESMO Awards will be presented during the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

2016– Alberto Sobrero, Italy

Sobrero has been Head of the Medical Oncology Unit at IRCCS San Martino IST in Genova, Italy, since 2001. He was previously Associate Professor in Medical Oncology at the University of Florence and Udine. His main research interests include gastrointestinal cancer treatment and design and interpretation of clinical trials in oncology.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Genova in 1978, Sobrero took the position of postdoctoral Associate in Medical Oncology at Yale University, Connecticut, USA. In 1983, he became Associate Research Scientist in Medical Oncology at Yale. Before returning to Genova in 1985, he completed a residency in internal medicine at the Yale Affiliated Norwalk Hospital.

Alberto Sorero

One always wonders if he is doing well in his professional life: the ESMO Award is certainly the best answer to this questioning. I am very grateful to Dr J-P. Armand, former ESMO President, who introduced me to the international homes of ESMO and EORTC and inspired me with his professional and human touch. I really felt surprised at receiving this award: being chosen by peers is very gratifying.

Alberto Sobrero, 2016 ESMO Award winner

From 2002 to 2006, Sobrero was the Chairman of the Protocol Review Committee of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and has been part of the faculty of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Federation of European Cancer Societies (FECS) clinical research courses in Flims, Switzerland, for seven years. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology from 2004 to 2006, and was part of the Scientific Committee of ASCO in 2007 to 2008.

Christoph Zielinski, Chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, said: “Prof. Sobrero has not only very broadly and prominently co-authored more than 200 original contributions on very important issues mainly relevant to colorectal cancer where he is considered a leading world expert, but has also cooperated to a large extent within the European Society for Medical Oncology.”

Previous winners of the ESMO Award

2015 – Nathan Cherny, Israel

Professor Nathan Cherny has contributed to the visionary integration of palliative care into clinical oncology which has proved to be highly beneficial to patients with cancer. He helped to establish the ESMO Palliative Care Working Group in 1999 and was instrumental in setting up the ESMO Designated Centres programme in 2003, the premier initiative worldwide for providing incentives and a structured model to develop integrated programmes in oncology and palliative care.

Cherny spearheaded the European and Global Opioid Policy Initiatives on formulary availability and regulatory barriers to access to opioids for cancer pain and as one of the lead coordinators, Cherny will play a key role in providing data to European health authorities on the availability of licensed anti-neoplastic medicines in Europe. Most recently, Cherny initiated the ESMO project to develop a scale to evaluate the magnitude of clinical benefit for cancer medicines.

2014 – Carsten Bokemeyer, Germany

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 is a founding member of the international education initiative Molecular Targeted Therapy of Cancer and a past Chair of the ESMO Examination Committee. He 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.

  • 2013 – Cora Sternberg, Italy
  • 2012 – Ian Tannock, Canada
  • 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

Nomination process and eligibility

Nominations can be made by any ESMO Full, Junior, Honorary or Emeritus member. You cannot nominate yourself. To access the nomination form, you will be asked to sign in to your myESMO account

In order to be considered for the award, a nominee must:

  • Be an individual (institutions and organisations are not eligible) who has made a long-term impact in the field of medical oncology throughout their career and made an outstanding contribution essential for a significant change in diagnosis or treatment paradigm.
  • Be an ESMO member
  • Be an oncology professional, medical or clinical oncologist
  • Have not previously received the ESMO Award
  • Not be a current or recent (last two years) member of either the ESMO Executive Board or the  ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee

Selection process

All nominations submitted via the online form by the nomindation deadline will be evaluated by the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee. After careful deliberations by the committee, its recommendations are forwarded to the ESMO Executive Board for final consideration and selection.

The award consists of a prize and free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses to the annual ESMO Congress.