?The 35th ESMO Congress is milestone in our Society?s history. It has been, not only our biggest, but also our best congress ever,? declared ESMO President David J. Kerr at the event?s closing conference today. 16,000 delegates attended the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress in Milan this week, including over 13,000 medical oncologists, 380 members of the press and close to 400 patients who participated in a dedicated seminar. ?We believe this success is due to the excellent program that the ESMO Scientific Committee put together this year, including a large amount of original research,? said Prof Kerr.

Prof Fortunato Ciardiello highlighted as one of the most important clinical studies reported here the results of a large randomized Phase-III trial in prostate cancer patients who had previously failed hormone and chemotherapy. The study was presented by researcher Johann de Bono. ?These findings will change daily practice in the treatment of prostate cancer, in particular because they offer a novel and well-tolerated hormone therapy to patients for which no other treatment options were available. They contribute to a new era in drugs for prostate cancer,? said Prof Ciardiello.

Other practice-changing trials presented at the 35th ESMO Congress include a Chinese study that brings new hope to lung cancer patients (OPTIMAL trial). Lung cancer is the most common and deadliest cancer, but advances presented by Prof Caicun Zhou tripled the time people lived without the disease getting worse. An encouraging trial for ovarian cancer patients (ICON 7) presented by DrTim Perren from the UK, also attracted a lot of attention. In the field of advanced breast cancer, an American study (TDM4450g) that presented a new type of medicine with much lower toxicity compared to the older ‘standard’ drew a lot of interest. Principal investigator, Dr Edith Perez said the compound had shown to be effective in patients whose metastatic breast cancer had not responded to other treatments.

Prof Kerr said that what has become clear ?is that we need to get back to our laboratories to understand more about the disease. We need more biology and a better insight so that we can treat the right patient, at the right time, with the right drug at the right dose.

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