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European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2020 Highlights

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

This year, and despite the pandemic, the ESMO conference succeeded in their aim to convey the latest advances in translational cancer research, and for the first time, became a stage for the practice-changing data and multidisciplinary must-have conversations that encourage the evolution of therapies against cancer.

MEDSIR actively participated in the conference, presenting data of two sponsored studies.

ESMO Highlights

Key opinion leaders in clinical oncology and top scientists from all over the world shared the latest developments in cancer therapy.

Advancements in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

New insights were provided in relation to the treatment of NSCLC. The Phase III CROWN Study presented data on the efficacy of kinase inhibitor in first-line treatment of advanced ALK-Positive NSCLC. We also learned about the ADAURA study and the results on clinical benefit and biomarkers in previously treated advanced NSCLC patients and the efficacy of osimertinib adjuvant therapy in patients with early stage EGFR-mutated NSCLC after tumor resection (ADAURA study).

Advancements in Breast Cancer

A piece of new information was also released in relation to breast cancer. Some examples of the many breast cancer studies presented at ESMO 2020 are:

i) The IMpassion031 trial, which tests the neoadjuvant atezolizumab plus chemotherapy in early triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

ii) A phase III study testing sacituzumab govitecan in previously treated metastatic TNBC.

iii) The SOLAR-1 study, which looks at the overall survival (OS) in patients with for Hormone Receptor-Positive, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Negative Advanced Breast Cancer treated with the combination of alpelisib plus fulvestrant.

Advancements in other Solid Tumors

Results from the Canadian Cancer Trials Group PA.7 Trial were also presented at ESMO. It explores gemcitabine (GEM) and nab-paclitaxel (Nab-P) versus GEM, Nab-P, durvalumab and tremelimumab in metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

We learned about the CheckMate 9ER trial, which compares the combination of nivolumab plus cabozantinib versus sunitinib as first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma.

The KEYNOTE-361 provided new insights on the combination of Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy as first-line treatment of advanced urothelial carcinoma.

News about locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma were delivered through the presentation of the GORTEC 2015-01 “PembroRad” randomized trial, testing pembrolizumab versus cetuximab concomitant with radiotherapy (RT).

Finally, we learned about the PRODIGE 23 phase III trials testing neoadjuvant mFOLFIRINOX and preoperative chemoradiation in patients with T3-4 rectal cancer and about a Phase III study of ipatasertib plus abiraterone in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.


At ESMO 2020, MEDSIR presented results from two research projects: TRANSFAL and EXCAAPE, for breast and prostate cancer patients, respectively.

The TRANSFAL study - a molecular sub-study derived from the MEDSIR-sponsored PARSIFAL clinical trial - is an exploratory and comprehensive study that aims at analyzing the molecular tumor profile of patients enrolled in the PARSIFAL trial, in an attempt to answer to the urgent need for predictive and prognostic biomarkers on the response to palbociclib.

Also, the results of 3 successfully established tumor engraftments were summarized, showing that translational co-studies associated to clinical trials are feasible despite the low tumor take-rate and resemble the patient’s clinical response to CDK4/6 inhibitors plus ET.

The EXCAAPE study is a MEDSIR-sponsored clinical trial that evaluated Radium-223 (223Ra) for the treatment of asymptomatic metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients with bone metastases and no visceral involvement, and who had previously progressed to abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide. Results from the EXCAAPE trial presented at ESMO indicate that 223Ra is active and safe for 2nd line treatment in asymptomatic mCRPC patients with bone metastasis who have progressed to 1st line new hormonal regimens.

MEDSIR is extremely proud of the work being done and thankful that ESMO found the way to provide a platform, albeit virtually, for professionals in the clinical trial community to contribute to the global exchange and debate of translational cancer research.



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