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.

2015 – Nagahiro Saijo

The ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Nagahiro Saijo during the European Cancer Congress 2015

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.

Nagahiro Saijo

I am very much delighted and honoured, both for myself and for my colleagues who have been devoted to the development of medical oncology in Asian countries including Japan.

Nagahiro Saijo

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.

Previous winners of the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award

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, Bellinzona, Switzerland

Prof Cavalli is the founding editor of the Annals of Oncology, ESMO’s flagship scientific journal, established to keep medical oncologists at the cutting edge of new research developments. Born in Locarno, Switzerland, he is Scientific Director of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland (IOSI), Bellinzona, the comprehensive cancer centre for the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. Franco Cavalli was voted Switzerland’s “Person of the Year” in 2006 for his contribution to society – in particular his efforts on tackling cancer in developing regions – while he was a member of the Swiss Parliament (1995 to 2007).

Prof Cavalli has authored or co-authored more than 550 scientific articles and five books including the "Textbook of Medical Oncology". Among his collection of international awards are the Pezcoller Award, the New Drug Development Organisation Honorary Award, the Greidinger Award (Israel) and the Waldman Award (USA).

  • 2012 – European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Brussels, 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)


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, the opportunity to give a lecture on the team's/individual’s research findings during either the ESMO or the ECC Congress plus free registration, free accommodation and reimbursement of travel expenses.