ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award

The prestigious ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2006 to recognise international research by individuals, teams and organisations that demonstrate commitment to clinical cancer research and/or education.

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

2016 – Richard Peto, UK

Sir Richard Peto FRS is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH). He, working with his colleagues Richard Gray, Rory Collins and several dozen leading breast cancer researchers, founded the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) in 1985, which has substantially improved the routine management of early breast cancer and influenced clinical trial strategies.

Peto was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989 for meta-analyses of randomised trials of treatments for breast cancer and for vascular disease.

Richard Peto

The ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award recognises not just Richard Peto but the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group as a whole, including the patients and staff in hundreds of randomised trials. The EBCTCG’s large-scale randomised evidence has helped identify several of the moderate treatment gains that have, since 1990, already halved European breast cancer death rates in middle age.

Richard Peto, 2016 ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award winner

By their large trials, prospective studies and worldwide meta-analyses, Peto and his colleagues have increased substantially the estimated importance of blood lipids, blood pressure and smoking as causes of premature death. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1999 for his epidemiological studies of the hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping, and was the first to describe clearly the future worldwide health effects of current smoking patterns, predicting one billion deaths from tobacco in the present century if current smoking patterns persist, as against 'only' 100 million in the 20th century.

On behalf of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, Christoph Zielinski said: “Prof. Richard Peto has contributed constantly over the years to the prevention of cancer and to the improvement of breast cancer treatment in Europe and the world. It is, therefore, why the ESMO Fellowships and Awards Committee has unanimously voted for Richard Peto to be the recipient of the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award 2016.”

Previous winners of the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award

2015 – Nagahiro Saijo

Professor Nagahiro Saijo is a globally known leader in thoracic oncology who has dedicated his life to the diagnosis and innovation of treatment of thoracic malignancies.

Saijo raised the status of medical oncology in Asia, especially Japan, with strong support from ESMO. He is a founder and the first president of the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology (JSMO), a position he still holds. He adapted the ESMO/ASCO core curriculum and launched the certification of medical oncologists in Japan in 2006. Saijo began ESMO/JSMO joint symposia during their respective meetings. Under his leadership, ESMO’s official journal Annals of Oncology also became JSMO’s official scientific publication.

Saijo has contributed to the development and progress of global medical oncology as a member of the ESMO National Representatives and Membership Committee from 2005 to 2011.

2014 - Peter Boyle, France

Peter Boyle is currently Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde and holds Honorary or Visiting Professorships at Glasgow and Yale Universities. Boyle is founder and President of the World Prevention Alliance and inaugural Director of the University of Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health at iPRI, located in Lyon, France and Glasgow, Scotland.

Peter Boyle is internationally known for his research in epidemiology and disease prevention. He led the EUROCAN+PLUS project for the European Parliament which developed priorities for coordination of cancer research in Europe and was Editor of the World Cancer Report 2008 and the State of Oncology 2013 which highlighted the growing global cancer crisis. Previous appointments include Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO) and President of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon.

Boyle was a Member of the European Cancer Advisory Board and worked as scientific advisor to the European Commission on the European Tobacco Contents Directive which became law in 2012. He was also responsible for the revisions of the European Code Against Cancer.

  • 2013 – Franco Cavalli, Switzerland
  • 2012 – European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Belgium
  • 2011 - Hans Jörg Senn, Switzerland
  • 2010 - Alan H. Calvert, United Kingdom
  • 2009 - Alan Ashworth, United Kingdom
  • 2008 - Emil M. Costa, Spain
  • 2007 - Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI)
  • 2006 - Breast International Group (BIG)

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 internationally recognised individual, team or organisation in any relevant discipline in the field of oncology
  • Demonstrate an affiliation to a major academic or cancer research / treatment institution(s)
  • Possess an international reputation and demonstrated commitment to clinical cancer research and/or education
  • Be renowned for their vital work and outstanding achievements carried out in clinical cancer research and/or education
  • Present a cancer research topic of high current interest
  • Have published results on cancer research topics in significant and peer-reviewed journals
  • Have not previously received the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Not be or represented by a current or recent (last two years) member of either the ESMO Executive Board or the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee

(There is no requirement for your nominee to be an ESMO member)


All nominations received by the nomination 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 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, the opportunity to give a lecture on the team's/individual’s research findings during the annual ESMO Congress plus free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses for one person.