ECCO2017: Late-breaking abstracts showcase newest and most relevant research
President of ECCO and Congress Chair, Professor Peter Naredi explains what will be revealed among the late-breaking abstracts during ECCO2017 European Cancer Congress.
“At past congresses, the sole purpose of featuring late-breaking abstracts was to highlight the newest results from the big phase three randomised trials,” explains Professor Naredi. “This remains an important principle at this year’s Congress. However, we are also interested in research that addresses our four pillars: multidisciplinarity, outcomes, health economics and service delivery.”
“In selecting abstracts we have considered not only the biggest studies but also the most relevant studies for our community. For example, latest results of a phase three study of pembrolizumab for urothelial cancer will be among this year’s late-breakers. We will be hearing how the drug affects survival in patients who have already received at least one other treatment.” (Necchi, 3LBA)
A second study using pembrolizumab is also being presented at the Congress, this time for treating mucosal melanoma (Butler, 1142). “This is also a vital piece of research because, although it’s looking at a very rare form of melanoma, the researchers have managed to bring together enough patients to get some meaningful results,” Professor Naredi says.
Pembrolizumab is a very new and costly immunotherapy drug, and Professor Naredi believes these two presentations are sure to stimulate a critical debate on health budgets and how they should be spent: “We’ll have the opportunity to see the benefits of this drug for two groups of patients, but also the opportunity to explore the financial costs and weight this treatment up against others.”
Another late-breaking abstract will present results of patient trials with a new breath test for stomach and oesophageal cancer (Markar, 6LBA). Professor Naredi says: “These are two types of cancer that are difficult to detect and they are often diagnosed too late. This research raises the exciting possibility of a non-invasive test that can indicate the presence of cancer by analysing the chemicals in patients’ breath. This could be used before sending a patient for an expensive, invasive endoscopy. Such an advance could have a real impact on service delivery.”
Results of an important ‘real-world’ study of nearly 130,000 breast cancer patients will also be revealed in a late-breaking abstract (Lagendijk, 4LBA). This study examines survival rates from the Dutch cancer registry and will compare the impact of mastectomy with lumpectomy with radiotherapy in women with early stage breast cancer who are over 50.
Professor Naredi says: “This huge study allows us to drill down and look at very specific circumstances to help decide which type of treatment is best for which type of patient. You do not get those sorts of numbers from phase three trials. And because we are looking at ‘real-world’ data, we do not need to worry about how applicable this will be.”
Other late-breaking abstracts will reveal the results of research on the quality of life for breast cancer patients treated with an intense chemotherapy regime (Brandberg, 5LBA), the impact of immunotherapy on survival rates for patients with advanced melanoma (Kim, 8LBA), and the variety of roles that can be carried out by specialist cancer nurses (Wells, 7LBA).
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Professor Naredi concludes: “And so you can see, in tune with the rest of the Congress, these new, late-breaking additions have a strong focus on patient outcomes, as well as implications for health economics.”