SINGAPORE – The ESMO Asia Congress has just started at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, bringing together over 3,500 medical professionals from the entire Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The three-day event will be packed with scientific and educational lectures, aimed at responding to the unique challenges faced by the oncology community in Asia. “On one side we will be looking at the latest advancements in cancer research to keep the medical professionals up to date,” said ESMO President Josep Tabernero. “On the other side, we are committed to bringing about high-level discussions with key stakeholders and decision-makers on how to ensure access to optimal treatment and care for all cancer patients, wherever they live.”
Results of an ESMO survey on the availability and accessibility of anti-cancer medicines showed profound differences in access to treatment between wealthier nations and developing economies. This is true even in relation to those medicines that are on the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Medicines List. “Such discrepancies are worrying and signal the need for substantial reforms in health service delivery,” said Tabernero.
The broad issue of the growing cancer burden in the Asia-Pacific region was tackled by Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO agency. In her keynote lecture, Dr Weiderpass emphasised that prevention is the most cost-effective long-term strategy to control cancer as 30 – 50% of all cancers are preventable. She also emphasised that the Asia-Pacific region, with more than 60% of the world’s population, bears half of the global cancer burden. Consequently, national policies and programs should be strengthened in the region. Aside from raising awareness, there is also a need to reduce exposure to cancer risk factors and ensure that people are provided with the information and support they need to make healthy choices.
This year, the ESMO Asia Congress will once again offer a carefully curated programme that covers best practices, latest advances in cancer medical treatment, radiotherapy, prevention, supportive and palliative care, with an eye on Asia’s unique challenges and demographics.
Programme highlights include, among others:
- Rare cancers: What is different between Asia and Europe?
- Biosimilars use in oncology: clarifying concepts
- Perspectives of liquid biomarkers for cancer care
- Management of immune-related adverse events in Asian patients
- Improving cancer care in Asia, with a focus on the implementation of cancer registries
The programme features research that specifically looks at results in Asian populations as well as a number of studies presented for the very first time, as among others:
- LBA1: Brigatinib vs Crizotinib in Patients With ALK Inhibitor-Naive Advanced ALK+ NSCLC: Updated Results From the Phase III ALTA-1L Trial
- LBA2: TATTON expansion cohorts: A phase Ib study of osimertinib plus savolitinib in patients (pts) with EGFR-mutant, MET-positive NSCLC following disease progression on a prior EGFR-TKI
- LBA3: IMbrave150: Efficacy and Safety Results From a Ph 3 Study Evaluating Atezolizumab (atezo) + Bevacizumab (bev) vs Sorafenib (Sor) as First Treatment (tx) for Patients (pts) With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)
- LBA6: First China-manufactured trastuzumab biosimilar HLX02 global phase III trial met primary endpoint in breast cancer
The ESMO Congress Asia 2019 was opened by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport & Ministry of Health, and saw the participation of other key health officers in the country, including, among others, the President of the Singapore Society of Oncology, Dr Su-Pin Choo.
The ESMO Asia Congress 2019 is endorsed by 21 oncology associations in the Asia-Pacific region and will run till Sunday, 24 November 2019.