All eyes are on Atlanta as the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting (29 March–3 April, GA, USA) fast approaches. We will be reporting live from the conference and look forward to seeing you there; but in the meantime, to help you navigate this huge conference we are highlighting the key talks you should look out for.
Don’t forget to check back on this piece in the days leading up to AACR, as we will continue to add more talks for you to keep an eye on!
News headlines thus far
Recently, an eagerly awaited media briefing took place, where we were able to get a sneak peek of some studies that will be presented at AACR.
One of the studies suggested that colorectal cancer patients aged under 50 years are being diagnosed at a later stage than their older peers. This is thought to be attributed to a common misdiagnosis and a lack of awareness about the disease, in both physicians and patients. You can read the full news piece here.
There are four topics that are expected to cause a stir at this year’s congress; precision medicine, immunotherapy, health disparities and clinical trials.
A second study explained how consuming a high-fiber diet is found to be associated with a more diverse gut microbiome and a better cancer immunotherapy response, find out more here. Whilst a third study suggested that patients with advanced prostate cancer who have pre-existing cardiovascular disease may have a higher risk of mortality in the 6 months after starting Zytiga® treatment compared with those who had no pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
A final presentation demonstrated that Guardant360®, a liquid biopsy test that detects all guideline-recommended biomarkers for newly diagnosed metastatic NSCLC, detects biomarkers with a faster turnaround time than current standard-of-care tests, and with a similar overall rate.
Key themes for AACR 2019
As highlighted by the news headlines above, there are four topics that are expected to cause a stir at this year’s congress; precision medicine, immunotherapy, health disparities and clinical trials. These themes are also mirrored in the plenary sessions. Below we have pulled the key talks from the conference for you to look out for.
In the first plenary session (that will be held on March 31, 9:45 AM–12:15 PM in Hall A of the Convention Center) the topic of precision medicine will be explored in a presentation by David B Solit (Memorial Sloane Kettering, NY, USA). In this presentation, Solit will summarize current indications for tumor profiling as well as the use of cell-free DNA to guide routine clinical care and enrollment onto clinical trials. He will also present insights from an institution wide molecular profiling initiative, which now includes over 30,000 patients, with a focus on hurdles to sharing genomic data in ‘big data’ analyses.
If you are interested in learning more about precision medicine then make sure to attend the ‘Precision medicine in 2019’ educational session that will be taking place on March 30, 10:15AM –12:15 PM in room A411.
As usual, immunotherapy will be a big topic of conversation. The theme of manipulating the immune system as a cancer therapy will be explored in the third plenary session (April 2, 8:15 AM–10:15 AM, Hall A – Convention Center) with talks focused on; methods for targeting macrophages, biomarkers that enable selection of patients for treatment, the development of T cells against specific tumor mutations and bispecific antibodies to direct T cells to the tumor microenvironment.
Next up is the topic of health disparities. Several talks will delve into this theme, approaching it from different angles such as genomics, spliceomics, epidemiology, to name just a few.
Two presentations in the second plenary session (April 1, 8:15 AM–10:15 AM Hall A – Convention Center) will showcase the potential of genomic techniques in advancing our understanding ancestry-related tumor responses and cancer disparities. The ‘DARC side of breast cancer disparities’, which will be presented by Melissa B. Davis (Weill Cornell Medicine, NY, USA), focuses on breast cancer and highlights the historical progression of cancer genomics in cancer disparities. Davis will also provide recent findings from her research group – the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes. Whilst a talk by Steven R Patierno of Duke Cancer Institute (NC, USA) underscores the importance of conducting further translational and clinical research on additional oncogenic molecular mechanisms in diverse populations to aid in development of new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Find out more about cancer genomics in these interviews:
Meanwhile, the penultimate plenary (April 3, 8:00 AM–10:00 AM, Hall A – Convention Center) seeks to provide key epidemiological insights. Talks to bookmark from this session include a presentation from Ariela Noy (Memorial Slone Kettering Cancer Center) on the impact of anti-HIV bias in cancer clinical trials as well as a talk by Yuk Ming Dennis Lo. (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin) on the technological and clinical consideration when screening for nasopharyngeal carcinoma using plasma Epstein-Barr virus DNA.
Two presentations in the second plenary session will showcase the potential of genomic techniques in advancing our understanding ancestry-related tumor responses and cancer disparities.
As always, clinical trial data will be released at the last moment, so to keep up-to-date make sure to check our news page throughout the conference.
This topic will also be explored in a broader context within the first plenary session. Kicking off this session, Peter Kuhn and Jorge J Nieva (both of University of Southern California, CA, USA) will outline the status of cancer biomarkers (including challenges such as tumor heterogeneity and cost), explain the potential shortfalls of current clinical trial design and propose an alternative approach – uniting the laboratory with the clinic. We are particularly looking forward to hearing their strategies for achieving a laboratory capable of studying cancer in the context of the complexity of human life. In addition, it should be interesting to hear their thoughts on developing models that quantify the pathways of disease in multiple dimensions and that also reflect the complexity of disease spread. Another talk to look out for in this plenary session will outline next generation CAR-T cell therapeutics, endowed with greater tumor specificity and control, with the key aim of overcoming tumor resistance.
Find out more about how CAR-T is revolutionizing oncology in our Ask the Experts feature;
At AACR 2019 several cancer researchers, clinicians and physician–scientists will be recognized for their scientific achievements. Below we have collated the key awards and the corresponding sessions.
Raymond N. DuBois (Medical University of South Carolina, SC, USA) will be awarded the 13th Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research for his accomplishments as a global leader in the early detection, interception and prevention of colorectal cancer. Find out more about DuBois in his lecture titled: “Inflammation and inflammatory mediators as potential targets for cancer prevention or interception,” on Monday April 1 2019, at 7:00 AM, Room A305, Georgia World Congress Center.
Meanwhile, Emil J Freireich (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston TX, USA) will be awarded the 16th AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research
This award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a body of work. Find out more here.
Meet us at AACR 2019
If you are attending the AACR Annual Meeting, why not send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting or visit us at booth #4438. If you not able to attend the meeting this year, make sure to follow us on twitter @OncologyCentral and check in on our news page to keep up-to-date with the latest developments from the conference.
To see what other conferences we are attending in 2019, have a look at our events calendar.
If you are attending the AACR Annual Meeting, why not send us an email email@example.com to set up a meeting or visit us at booth #4438.
Who came out on top at AACR 2018?
Looking back on last year’s meeting, a clear winner was the Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) with the KEYNOTE-189 study. This trial demonstrated that Keytrdua® (pembrolizumab), significantly improves overall survival in combination with Almita® (pemetrexed) and cisplatin or carboplatin for the first-line treatment of metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), reducing the risk of death by half compared with chemotherapy alone.
Another key study from the conference was CheckMate-227, which demonstrated that the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab significantly extended progression-free survival in those with previously untreated advanced NSCLC whose tumors have high tumor mutation burden.