Oncologists share the most exciting ESMO 2012 developments

Today marked the close of the 37th European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Vienna, Austria. More than 17,000 attendees from over 120 countries came together to discuss new cancer treatments, explore new technologies and share experiences. This global event was defined as a ‘practice changing’ Congress, putting us on the cusp of major change in the treatment of cancer.

Prior to the start of the Congress, Martine Piccart, ESMO 2012 Congress President was quoted as saying, “The oncology field is going to explode within the next five years and in ten years from now oncology will be drastically different from what it is today: what we are going to see at ESMO 2012 in Vienna will give a broad overview of how new technologies can improve the tailoring of cancer therapies for the benefit of our patients.” With this in mind, InCrowd asked 100 oncologists that attended ESMO to tell us what they felt was the most exciting development to come from this year’s Congress.

The top five developments defined by ESMO attendees include:

  • Personalized medicine and targeted therapies
  • Genetic profiling, gene mapping for targeting treatment
  • HER2-directed therapy for breast cancer
  • New developments in the treatment of melanoma
  • Immunotherapy in cancer treatment

n = 100 oncologists attending ESMO
Time to field micro survey during ESMO: 32 minutes

Physician comments:

  • Personalized medicine — hope and complexities that will engender a need for better informatics infrastructure and physician (and other) education.

  • I am personally less optimistic that Martine Piccart. The more we learn the more complex cancer biology becomes. There are some success stories but a lot are still left behind. Due to complex biology, lack of targets and increasingly unaffordable drugs.

  • Genetic profiling of lung cancer, breast cancer, new pathway inhibitors, more immune directed therapies.

  • The new targeted treatments and genetic / molecular markers to tailor treatments to specific patients.

  • The data that Genentech’s TDM-1 agent has broad efficacy particularly in breast cancer is a major development as this is a completely novel type of agent. The phase III COMPARZ data in RCC supports that Votrient may be better tolerated than Sutent. The phase III data from INTORACT in RCC continues to support the notion that sequential therapy maybe more effective than combination therapy thus far in RCC.

  • The development of targeted therapy and personalized management plan for individual cancer patients.

  • The validation of 12-months of adjuvant Herceptin for Her2+ breast CA.

  • For melanoma, 2-drug combination is better than 1 drug including BRAF inhibitor and MEK inhibitor. TDM-1 safe with improved PFS and OS in Her-2/NEU(+) mBC.

  • Targeted BRAF and MEK therapy for melanoma; 1 yr duration of adjuvant Herceptin.

  • This conference has clearly shown the rising interest not only in the research of cancer therapy and the introduction of new markers for early Cancer detection such as histone modifications – but has also in cooperated patients needs in the view of rising health care questions.

  • Agree with Martine Piccart, that oncology practice will have dramatic changes, especially it will be more individualized treatment tailored specifically to the tumor biology very exciting.

  • Continued emergence of “smart” chemo-therapies, tailored to the proteins and factors is the most important aspect of oncology and its future.


  • We are treating cancer so differently now than several years ago, and it is only going to get more specific.