ESMO Asia 2016 Media Alert: ESMO Holds Second Successful Congress in Singapore

Congress increasingly recognised as one of the most eagerly anticipated oncology events

  • Date: 21 Dec 2016

SINGAPORE – The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading professional organisation for medical oncology, has successfully concluded the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress in Singapore. ESMO Asia 2016 is a platform for the presentation and discussion of cancer research and state-of-the-art oncology practice, designed specifically to help meet the needs of both senior and younger oncology professionals in the Asia Pacific region.

Since last year’s inaugural ESMO Asia 2015 Congress in Singapore, the conference has garnered more attention and interest from medical experts and professionals, and is endorsed by twenty oncology societies across Asia. The first two editions of the ESMO Asia Congress attracted almost 3,000 participants. Attendees from this year’s congress shared positive feedback on the event’s substantial content, impressive roster of speakers, sharing of best-practice and the networking opportunities. The keynote lectures and major presentations drew packed audiences.

According to ESMO President, Professor Fortunato Ciardiello, “The ESMO Asia 2016 Congress was a success, and we are pleased that we managed to build on the strong momentum of last year’s inaugural event. We will continue to work closely with all our partners in the region to further develop the ESMO Asia Congress and make it one of the most influential must-attend oncology platforms in the region. The presence of international experts and attendees from many countries worldwide validates the unique offering of the ESMO Asia Congress. We designed the programme with the Asian oncology community in mind, but we had an excellent mix of both regional and international attendees; which is exactly our desired outcome, as we want to promote best practice sharing between Asian, European and worldwide oncology professionals. Ultimately, all these collaborative efforts are geared towards helping cancer patients across the continents.”

The Guest-of-Honour for the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress was Doctor Amy Khor, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Environment & Water Resources and Health, who attended the opening ceremony on Friday, 16 December with Professor Ciardiello.

The ESMO Asia 2016 Congress focused on current clinical challenges and novel treatment strategies for particular tumour subtypes, as well as updates on translating emerging cancer therapeutics into clinical use. The keynote lectures focused on two areas that are crucial in the era of personalised medicine, namely how professionals can better understand the differences between tumours of the same type in different patients, and the link between the Epstein-Barr virus and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Additional presentations and in-depths discussions covered a wide range of related topics such as the increasing costs of treatments, measures that need to be taken to provide adequate psychological support for cancer patients, and the importance of better palliative care.

Prof Wu Yi-long, representing the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology, one of the endorsing societies of the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress, said: “Our organisation understands all too well the challenges in developing treatments and care approaches to help cancer patients. We were keen to support the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress, as the learnings and discussions are particularly relevant for our country and our patients. The sessions I attended provided me with an even greater understanding of what our organisation can realistically achieve in both the short- and long-term. The insights, potential for more collaboration and new research that we have gained from our attendance at the ESMO Asia Congress over these four days have been invaluable.”

Dr Ravindran Kanesvaran from the host society, Singapore Society of Oncology, also welcomed the opportunity to partner with ESMO on the Asia 2016 Congress: “Through extensive research and education, we will all be able to provide the highest-quality patient care. We are pleased that ESMO has taken on a guiding role bringing experts and professionals together in this region. This gives us all access to research and expertise that would otherwise not be as easily available in our respective countries. We will take what we have learned from our peers and colleagues across Asia, Europe and other parts of the world, and apply this on our patients, who are the principle reason why we do this in the first place.”

At this year’s congress, ESMO also marked a significant milestone, as the organisation announced that it has now reciprocal membership agreements with two oncology societies in Asia, namely the Korean Association for Clinical Oncology and The Indonesian Society of Hematology Medical Oncology. The reciprocal membership would provide considerable advantages and benefits to oncologists in those countries, including reduced ESMO membership fee and a facilitated application process for new members.

“This is the first time for ESMO to expand its reciprocal membership agreements outside of Europe, highlighting our desire to establish strong bonds with our peers in this region,” said ESMO President Professor Fortunato Ciardiello.

The following press releases were shared during ESMO Asia 2016 Congress.

More information and photos are also available from the Congress newspapers distributed to attendees.

1. Patients wait four months before seeking cancer diagnosis
Patients wait an average of four months before seeking a cancer diagnosis. Some patients waited less than a week before seeing a doctor while others waited three years.

2. Supportive care for cancer patients remains inadequate
Pain relief and other forms of supportive care for cancer patients are insufficient, researchers report at the ESMO ASIA 2016 Congress in Singapore. They also highlight that side-effects to chemotherapy must be treated efficiently and that doctors should ensure end-of-life treatment meets patients’ expectations.

3. Almost 20% of breast cancer patients fail to complete prescribed endocrine therapy
Around 20% of breast cancer patients do not complete prescribed endocrine therapy. The study in over 5,500 women found that younger patients and those who had taken hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were less likely to adhere to their medicine

4. Asian head and neck cancer patients live longer with immunotherapy than mixed race group
Researchers report the results of a sub-analysis of the KEYNOTE-012 trial about the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab in Asia Pacific patients who received the fixed dose for 24 months until disease progression or adverse events.

5. First data on rare sarcomas in Asian patients presented at ESMO Asia in Singapore
The first data on rare sarcomas in Asian patients is presented in three studies today at the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress in Singapore. Angiosarcoma is the focus of two studies conducted by the newly formed Asian Sarcoma Consortium (ASC). The third study focused on Ewing sarcoma-like small round cell sarcomas, providing practice-changing information

6. Anxiety and depression a major issue for cancer survivors
Cancer has a major impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Results from a Malaysian study (1) of 1,362 patients found more than four in five survivors were suffering from anxiety and a similar number had depression a year after diagnosis.Cancer also has a significant impact on the lives and wellbeing of adolescents and young adults, as reported in a separate ongoing study.

7. Depressed patients are less responsive to chemotherapy
A brain-boosting protein plays an important role in how well people respond to chemotherapy. A study has found that cancer patients suffering depression have decreased amounts of brain-derived neurotophic factor (BDNF) in their blood. Low levels make people less responsive to cancer drugs and less tolerant of their side-effects.

8. Immunotherapy with pembrolizumab deemed cost-effective for advanced melanoma patients in Hong Kong
Immunotherapy with pembrolizumab has been deemed a cost-effective first line treatment for advanced melanoma patients in Hong Kong. This is the first study to address the cost-effectiveness of checkpoint inhibitors in the management of advanced cancer in Hong Kong.

9. Ribociclib improves progression-free survival in Asian women with advanced breast cancer
Ribociclib significantly improves progression-free survival in Asian women with advanced breast cancer, according to a sub-analysis of the MONALEESA-2 trial. MONALEESA-2 is a phase 3 randomised trial of ribociclib (a CDK4/6 inhibitor) plus letrozole (endocrine therapy) versus placebo plus letrozole for the first-line treatment of postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer.

10. Routine blood test predicts how long cancer patients will survive
A routine blood test can predict how long cancer patients in palliative care will survive. Survival evaluations can determine whether or not pharmacological treatment should be given.

11. Cancer costs leaving patients in debt
Cancer patients are ending up in debt because they have to cover the costs of treatment as well as other care related expenses. Research presented at ESMO Asia 2016 shows new aspects of the burden of cancer care on patients.

The next edition of the ESMO Asia Congress will be held in Singapore from 17 – 20 November 2017.

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About European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)

ESMO is the leading European professional organisation for medical oncology. Comprising 15,000 oncology professionals from over 130 countries worldwide, we are the society of reference for oncology education and information. We are committed to supporting our members to develop and advance in a fast-evolving professional environment.
Founded in 1975, ESMO has European roots with a global reach: we welcome oncology professionals from around the world. We are a home for all oncology stakeholders, connecting professionals with diverse expertise and experience, and speaking with one voice for our discipline. Our education and information resources support an integrated multi-professional approach to cancer care, from a medical oncology perspective.
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yongi@ruderfinnasia.com

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