Team Science and Collective Wisdom Highlighted at 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting

Team Science and Collective Wisdom Highlighted at 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting

The 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting brought together the leading minds in the field of oncology to discuss cutting-edge research in the international fight against cancer.

More than 38,500 people, including 31,500 oncology professionals, attended the 5-day meeting at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. This year’s Meeting saw the submission of more than 5,800 scientific abstracts from around the world.

Immediate Past President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, kicked off the Meeting with her presidential address on this year’s theme, “Collective Wisdom: The Future of Patient-Oriented Care and Research.” Her remarks called for collaboration among medical professionals in anticipation of providing care to an increasing number of patients in the coming years.

Dr. Julie Vose

“If we face a cancer tsunami, if globally there will soon be more than 20 million new cancer diagnoses each year, then our focus must be not on simply more treatments, but on delivering more high-value quality care,” Dr. Vose said. “This is why so many of the sessions at this Meeting are designed to provide information on the value of cancer care in conjunction with the scientific and medical information.”

One of the marquee events at any ASCO Annual Meeting is the Plenary Session, where a handful of abstracts highlighting some of the most important information in cancer care are selected for presentation.

This year’s Plenary Session featured new information demonstrating that extending aromatase inhibitor therapy beyond the standard 5 years out to 10 years for postmenopausal women with HR-positive early breast cancer significantly improves disease-free survival over placebo (LBA1), as well as a study showing that the addition of concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide to radiotherapy prolonged both overall and progression-free survival in elderly patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (LBA2).

“Oncologists now have evidence to consider radiation with chemotherapy in all newly diagnosed elderly patients with glioblastoma,” said James R. Perry, MD, FRCPC, of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, who presented LBA2.

Other abstracts showed that the intensification of myeloablative therapy with tandem autologous stem cell transplant improved the probability of event-free survival in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (LBA3), and that the addition of daratumumab to bortezomib and dexamethasone improved outcomes in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (LBA4).

The 2016 Annual Meeting also included an historic address by Vice President Joe Biden, who discussed the White House’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The Vice President’s remarks were some of his first detailing the recently announced Genomic Data Commons, a public database for clinical genomic data overseen and funded by the National Cancer Institute.

He also called for increased collaboration and team science within the field of oncology in order to confront “the scourge facing humanity.”

“Our ability to penetrate the mysteries of cancer depends on our willingness, and especially your willingness, to see beyond the usual and the expected,” Vice President Biden said. “The annals of ASCO are filled with revelations that surprised and upended the expected course of treating cancer, and collectively you have saved countless lives.”