Countdown to ASCO annual meeting

3 minute read

Aussie oncologists are leaving the country for the first time in years to attend the world’s biggest oncology conference in the US.

Oncology professionals from around the world are gathering in Chicago for the largest specialist conference on the international calendar. 

The theme for the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting is Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation, and it will run from 3-7 June, both onsite in Chicago and online.   

More than 2800 abstracts were accepted for presentation at the annual meeting, and more than 2400 additional abstracts were accepted for online publication.  

The majority of these abstracts were publicly released last week, with late-breaking abstracts and plenary abstracts to be released on their day of presentation at the meeting.  

Key topics include advances in therapies for rare and paediatric cancers, findings on disparities among patients with cancer, and new treatment options for patients with advanced breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. 

Australian oncologists are expected to be among those making the trip to Chicago this year – and for most it will be the first time they have ventured overseas since the Covid pandemic began more than three years ago. 

Among them will be Oncology Republic editor Professor John Zalcberg OAM.  

“Very few of us have been able to attend the major oncology conferences occurring around the world in person since the pandemic began,” he said. 

He said that initially he was excited about the opportunity to rekindle old friendships, reconnect with existing networks and learn of the many advances occurring in oncology.  

But on the eve of his travel, he was feeling the effects of wading through the red tape of international travel.  

“As the day approaches, I’m reliving the hassles of travelling and worried about dealing with the many hurdles that government and conference organisers have introduced to provide a safe environment for all,” he said. 

“However, once I’m on the plane, reading my accumulated emails and then safely ensconced in Chicago, I’m sure the trepidation will dissolve in the face of the real buzz we all feel about being at ASCO.” 

Professor Zalcberg told Oncology Republic the ongoing focus on personalised medicine and the increasing use of immunotherapy would be a highlight of this meeting as it has been in the past few years.  

“More specifically, I’m hoping that some of the attempts to target the holy grail, so to speak, of precision medicine – successfully targeting tumours with mutations in the RAS gene, especially for GI tumours – are bearing fruit,” he said. 

He said he understood there were several Australians going to ASCO, but he didn’t yet have a feel for the numbers. 

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