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Joining forces to improve lung cancer treatment

April 27, 2009

Lugano, 27 April 2009 - Prevention, personalized therapies and closer collaborations between surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists will result in better outcomes for lung cancer patients and those at risk, a leading European expert says.

"Lung cancer is a complex disease. It is one of the most complex cancers, and the more we learn about the biology of the disease, the more we realize that improved cancer care will result from multidisciplinary treatment," said Prof Robert Pirker, from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Prof Pirker is co-chair of the scientific committee of a new medical conference, the European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO), being held for the first time this year, 1-3 May, in Lugano, Switzerland. The conference aims to further clinical and scientific cooperation between disciplines to help in the fight against lung cancer.

Over the past 5 years, researchers have established that for patients with operable cancer, surgery followed by chemotherapy can result in good outcomes. Now, large clinical trials are beginning to evaluate that adding molecular targeted therapies can further improve the chance of a successful outcome for some patients. In addition, doctors are now attempting to refine their treatments based on the clinical characteristics of individual patients, and based on the molecular profile of their tumour.

"More sophisticated and complex treatments require more cooperation," Prof Pirker says. "That is one of the reasons why we have organized this conference. We believe the result will be better outcomes for lung cancer patients."

For patients with metastatic disease, targeted therapies have already entered clinical practice or have shown survival benefit in clinical trials. Combinations of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also improving outcomes of loco-regional non-small-cell lung cancer. "Cure is now possible in about 15% to 20% of patients whose disease can be treated in this way," adds Prof Jean-Paul Sculier, from Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium. Prof Sculier will chair a session on treating advanced disease at the conference.

Research groups will present new data at the meeting that reflect these developments, including:
  • A study comparing radiotherapy alone to sequential chemotherapy and radiation in locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, plus a correlation of gene expression level with survival (UK).
  • Promising results from a study of accelerated hypofractionated three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) with dose-per-fraction escalation for treatment of stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (Poland)
  • Confirmation that EGFR mutations (deletion in exon 19, missense L858R) are the most important predictors of sensitivity to tyrosine-kinase inhibitor targeted therapies (Italy)
Barbara Zolty from the World Health Organization (WHO) will also highlight the importance of preventing lung cancer as the first and foremost weapon against lung cancer. Ms Zolty will speak about the WHO Tobacco-Free Initiative with an enlightening keynote lecture entitled "A thousand seconds, a thousand lives."
The EMCTO Conference is co-organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO), the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS).

Meeting venue

The European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO) will take place at the Palazzo dei Congressi, Lugano.

Services for media representatives

A fully equipped press room will be in operation at the conference with Internet access and telephone lines for registered reporters. You will have access to all the scientific sessions and the possibility to schedule one-on-one interviews with top speakers and presenters of the studies, both in presence and remotely. Please contact the ESMO Communication Dept. at to already find out about the preliminary timetable or to book a telephone hook up. The conference full program is available at

Media registration

To register for the conference as a media representative, please visit and send the Complimentary Media Registration form to the ESMO Head Office.


For hotel reservation, please visit:

For media inquiries, please contact:

ESMO Press Office
Tel. +41 91 973 19 07
Fax +41 91 973 19 93
Mobile +41 76 305 82 68

Press Room Opening hours
Friday, 1 May 13:00 - 18:00
Saturday, 2 May 8:00 - 18:00
Sunday, 3 May 8:00 - 12:00

Notes to Editors

About the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) is a non-profit organization which promotes medical oncology and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment. ESMO is a community of oncology professionals that unites key stakeholders who share the common objective of preventing cancer, fostering a favourable environment for scientific research, and advocating for equal access to high quality cancer treatment. As the leading European professional medical oncology society, ESMO offers state-of-the-art educational and training programs which provide the oncology community with a platform to disseminate the most up-to-date scientific research and information available. ESMO's scientific journal, Annals of Oncology, ranks among the top clinical oncology journals worldwide. ESMO is an authoritative voice in the fight against cancer and offers consultative expertise to oncology organizations and European authorities on important issues related to cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

For more information, please visit:

About the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO)

ESTRO, the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, with more than 5000 members is the prime European platform for Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists, Radiation Biologists and Radiation Therapy Technologists. The aim of ESTRO is to improve the care of cancer patients by advancing radiotherapy in all its scientific, clinical, technological and quality assurance aspects. For this ESTRO offers mono- and multidisciplinary scientific conferences in all fields of radiation oncology which attract many thousand participants each year. With close to 30 courses and more than 3000 students each year, ESTRO is the prime provider of scientific teaching for European trainees and specialists in all fields of radiation oncology. ESTRO's board, committees and the 20 officers of the Brussels office provide state-of-the-art information and counsel for members, national societies, politicians, administration, health care providers, and patients. ESTRO works in many networks and strongly believes in a patient oriented, research based and multidisciplinary future of oncology.

For further information, please visit:

About the European Respiratory Society (ERS)

The ERS is a not-for-profit international medical organization composed of nearly 9000 individual members in over 100 countries who represent clinicians, chest physicians, allied health professionals in the field of respiratory medicine across Europe and globally. It is the pre-eminent medical society in Europe in its field and represents the main forum for exchange and continuing education for medical doctors and scientists engaged in basic, translational and applied lung science in Europe and beyond. The mission of the ERS is to alleviate suffering from respiratory disease and to promote lung health through research, knowledge sharing, medical and public education and advocacy. This is accomplished by promoting basic, epidemiological and clinical respiratory research, collecting and disseminating scientific information, organizing congresses and conferences, producing scientific publications, supporting training and continuous education in respiratory medicine and collaborating with organizations representing patients.

For further information, please visit:

About the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS)

The European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) represents Europe's thoracic surgeons. ESTS has over 920 members and welcomes thoracic surgeons from all countries. Our mission is to improve the care of thoracic surgical patients through the education and support of thoracic surgeons in Europe and worldwide.

The ESTS Annual Meeting on General Thoracic Surgery held in June each year is a major part of the mission of ESTS to improve healthcare and education in general thoracic surgery. Outstanding invited specialists participate in the Scientific Program and their presentations provide delegates with information on the latest developments in basic science, clinical treatment and research of thoracic diseases.

For further information on the activities of ESTS, please visit:

European Society for Medical Oncology

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