ESMO Celebrates Successful Completion of 3rd ESMO Asia Congress in Singapore

The momentum continues as experts around the world gather to advance cancer care

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 22 November 2017 - The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading professional organisation for medical oncology, has successfully concluded the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress in Singapore.

Since its inauguration in 2015, ESMO Asia Congress has garnered attention and significant interest from cancer experts and researchers not only in Asia but around the world. This year, the Congress is endorsed by twenty-one oncology societies across Asia and has attracted close to 3000 participants. Year-on-year, ESMO Asia has received positive feedback from its attendees and this year is no exception.

Dr GAN Kim Yong, Singapore Minister of Health, addressed ESMO attendees at the Opening Session stressing the importance of prevention and early detection in mitigating the impact of cancer. "Early detection of cancer allows for timely treatment and a better prognosis. Healthy lifestyle choices and appropriate cancer screening play an important role in cancer prevention." He also reminded the audience that collaborations drive cancer research and cancer research is the foundation for the enhancement of disease management.

According to ESMO President, Professor Fortunato Ciardiello, "The ESMO Asia 2017 Congress was yet another success, and we are pleased to see the new developments and advancement in cancer research, treatment options, and that best clinical practices are being shared among the medical community here at ESMO. ESMO is about people. We are here to facilitate knowledge exchange among medical oncologists and healthcare professionals so that one day, we can conquer the battle with cancer. We will continue to work closely with all our partners in the region to further develop the ESMO Asia Congress, to build on this influential platform, inspire further cancer research, and propel integrated cancer care."

One of ESMO's visions for the year 2020 is to bridge cancer prevention, research, early-diagnosis, and treatment to improve patient outcomes, and the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress lived up to that vision.   In addition to discussing current clinical challenges and novel treatment strategies, this year the Congress also sees focus on cancer supportive care and associated cultural issues. Numerous abstracts and studies on the use of liquid biopsy and how circulating tumour DNA can help monitor disease and provide guidance for treatment decision-making were also presented.

A survey was conducted this year by ESMO to understand the current knowledge of biosimilars among oncology professionals. The majority of survey participants indicated that they have average knowledge of biosimilars and more than half of those in Asia use biosimilars routinely in their clinical practice. It is therefore ESMO's mission to provide medical oncologists education on biosimilars, as it is another vision of ESMO to better equip medical oncologists for the fast-changing cancer field with specialised education. In fact, ESMO has already produced a position paper on the use of biosimilars to support medical oncologists with the subject.

The Society recognizes that progress in cancer treatment and management is not meaningful unless there is sustainable cancer care. Hence, ESMO is committed to advocating for equal access to quality treatment for all patients, wherever they live. A study revealing the access situation to recently approved cancer medicines and those that are on WHO's Essential Medicines List was published[i] . "By showing the cost and availability, as well as the various barriers to access of new and essential cancer medicines, we hope to facilitate conversations among key stakeholders in the region so that not only patients in high-income countries can gain access to these cancer treatments but patients in low to middle income countries can also benefit from them," said Professor Ciardiello.

Dr Ravindran Kanesvaran from the host society, Singapore Society of Oncology, reinforced the importance of the ESMO Asia Congress: "Asia has 60% of the world's population and accounts for half of the global cancer burden. Increasingly we are seeing variation in the mutation status of Asian cancer patients as compared to those in the rest of the world. An influential platform that brings together the leaders and experts in the field of oncology around the world is very much needed in Asia. ESMO is exactly that. New knowledge and insights empower us to provide the highest-quality patient care. We look forward to more exchange and learning in next year's ESMO Asia Congress."

The following press releases were shared during the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress. More information and photos are available from the ESMO website

1. More care is needed for cancer supportive care

O ver a quarter of cancer survivors across ten countries in Asia Pacific experienced a poor quality of life post-treatment. In addition, significant level of unmet needs was found among the survivors in eight out of the 10 surveyed countries.

Full release

2. ALEX study shows alectinib 600 mg more effective than crizotinib in Asian lung cancer patients

A subanalysis of the phase III ALEX study has shown that alectinib 600 mg twice daily is more effective than standard of care crizotinib in Asian patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) .

Full release

3. Study analyses mutations in cerebrospinal fluid in lung cancer with brain metastases

Researchers have begun exploring the use of the liquid biopsy approach to analyse mutations in cerebrospinal fluid in lung cancer patients with brain metastases.

Full release

4. Mainstreaming genetic counselling for ovarian cancer could support screening in Malaysia and beyond

The preliminary results of the MaGiC study show that most patients counselled by a well-trained but not necessarily an expert in genetics were satisfied or just as satisfied with their experience as compared to those being counselled by a genetic counsellor or clinical geneticist.

Full release

5. Only one in five Indonesian women are aware of cervical cancer screening

J ust one in five Indonesian women are aware of cervical cancer screening, and just one in twenty Indonesian women are aware of mammography for early detection of breast cancer.

Full release

6. Study finds all Myanmar mouth cancer patients chew betel quid

A study in Myanmar has shown that betel quid chewing has a high correlation to head and neck cancer. Interesting to note that this lifestyle behavior is also prevalent in countries like India, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Full release

7. Osimertinib improves progression-free survival in Asian EGFR-mutated lung cancer patients

Osimertinib improves progression-free survival compared to standard first line therapy in Asian patients with EGFR-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) -- according to the Asian subset analysis of the FLAURA trial.

Full release

8. Study shows new second line therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer is effective and safe

A new, modified second line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer is as effective and safe as FOLFIRI, with or without bevacizimab.

Full release

9. Global analysis looks at policy gaps and how to advance breast cancer control in Asia

Education conducted by civil society can play an important role in filling breast cancer policy gaps and advancing cancer control in Asia.

Full release

About ESMO

ESMO is the leading European professional organization for medical oncology. Comprising 17,000 oncology professionals from 150 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.

For more information, visit

[i] Cherny N, Sullivan R, Torode J, Saar M, Eniu A. ESMO International Consortium Study on the availability, out-of-pocket costs and accessibility of antineoplastic medicines in countries outside of Europe. Annals of Oncology , Volume 28, Issue 11, 1 November 2017, Pages 2633 --2647,