LUGANO, Switzerland, September 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The 33rd ESMO Congress in Stockholm, the premier European congress in Oncology, serves as a meeting place for medical oncologists, as well as a focal point to exchange ideas with colleagues from other disciplines.

The Congress Centre will be the venue for interdisciplinary interaction, a teaching ground, and a place to discuss critical issues for European oncology such as cancer research in Europe, the training of young oncologists and better integration of medical oncology with other specialties and patient advocacy groups.

Highlights of Congress Program: Please respect individual embargo dates/times Access to drugs European disparities in access to cancer drugs (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 12:30 CEST)

New research has highlighted stark disparities in access to the latest cancer drugs across European Union nations. Dr. Nils Wilking from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm gathered data on the sales of newer drugs per inhabitant of each country provided by pharmaceutical industry consultants IMS Health. His group's focus was on the uptake of newer 'targeted' drugs over the past 10 years in 27 countries.

Lung Cancer Significant benefits in non-small-cell lung cancer from customising treatment (Embargoed until Saturday 13 September 2008, 12:45 CEST)

Lung cancer patients whose tumours carry specific genetic mutations can achieve significantly longer survival when treated with targeted therapies such as erlotinib, Spanish researchers report. Investigators from the Spanish Lung Cancer Group conducted the largest-ever study to examine the benefits of customising lung cancer treatment based on mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene.

Phase II trial of pazopanib before surgery in early lung cancer (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 10:45 CEST)

Pazopanib, a new oral angiogenesis inhibitor, has demonstrated interesting activity in hard-to-treat non-small-cell lung cancer, US researchers report. "To my knowledge, no other results on the effect of angiogenesis inhibitors in early stage operable lung cancer have been published," said Prof. Nasser Altorki from Weil Medical College of Cornell University in New York. The results indicate a highly active drug in this setting and further development in lung cancer is underway to fully understand the value of this drug in this disease.

Late-breaking data: Study establishes role for gefitinib in Asian non-smokers with lung cancer (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 15:15 CEST)

The targeted therapy gefitinib should be considered a first-line therapy for non-smoking Asian patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung, suggests a presentation by Prof. Tony Mok from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Melanoma Gene variant increases melanoma risk (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 15:30 CEST)

People who carry a particular genetic variant are at significantly increased risk of developing malignant melanoma, new research shows. Melanomas are known to be caused by exposure to the ultraviolet light in sunlight, but the precise mechanisms involved are complex, Portuguese researchers show.

Late-breaking data: extended, escalated dose chemotherapy shows no survival benefit in advanced disease (Embargoed until Monday 15 September 2008, 17:00 CEST)

Prof. Poulam Patel from Nottingham University in the UK reports the final results from the largest of its kind randomised phase III study in 859 patients with stage IV melanoma. The clinical trial is coordinated by the EORTC Melanoma Study Group, involving 92 institutions in Europe, the US and Latin America.

Breast Cancer Adding docetaxel to chemotherapy regimen improves survival in early breast cancer (Embargoed until Sunday, 14 September 2008, 15:30 CEST)

For patients with early stage breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, adding docetaxel into a sequential regimen of epirubicin followed by cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil (CMF) reduces the risk of recurrence and death, updated long-term results show. This advantage comes at the cost of an increased, but manageable, toxicity, Italian researchers report.

Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin beneficial in metastatic breast cancer (Embargoed until Monday 15 September 2008, 12:30 CEST)

For women with metastatic breast cancer, treatment with an encapsulated form of the drug doxorubicin offers a well-tolerated option for maintenance therapy that delays progression and offers benefits in terms of survival, new results show presented by Spanish researcher Emilio Alba.

Gastrointestinal cancer Late breaking data: New drug substantially extends survival in pancreatic cancer (Embargoed until Tuesday, 16 September 2008, 10:00 CEST)

A new form of chemotherapy that destroys new blood vessels that grow around tumours has produced excellent results in a phase II trial of patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer, Prof. Matthias Lohr from the Karolinska Institute reports.

Late breaking data: Gene marker indicates doubling of survival time in advanced colorectal cancer treated with cetuximab (Embargoed until Tuesday, 16 September 2008, 08:30 CEST)

Genetic testing can identify a group of patients with advanced colorectal cancer who are likely to survive on average twice as long if treated with the drug cetuximab, show results presented by Dr. Christos Karapetis from Flinders University in Australia.

Ovarian Cancer Drug shows promise in ovarian cancer (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 10:45 CEST)

An investigational drug that combats ovarian cancer by inhibiting the formation of new blood vessels has shown promise in a phase II trial, according to Prof. Michael Friedlander from Australia presenting the results of an international collaborative trial involving patients with recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal carcinoma.

Late-breaking data: New treatment option for women with recurrent ovarian cancer (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 16:30 CEST)

Combining the new drug trabectedin with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin provides clinical benefit to women with relapsed ovarian cancer, according to new results. The combination, which importantly does not include a platinum drug, challenges the current standard of treatment for women whose cancer recurs at least 6 months after first-line treatment, said Associate Professor Bradley J. Monk from the University of California Irvine Medical Center.

Supportive care Adding iron to darbepoetin therapy helps with chemotherapy-induced anaemia (Embargoed until Monday, 15 September 2008, 08:45 CEST)

For patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced anaemia, adding intravenous iron to treatments with the drug darbepoietin alfa results in better haematologic response, and a faster improvement in the condition, US researcher Michael Auerbach reports.

Patient seminar

An estimated 25 million people alive today have survived cancer, a number that is likely to grow substantially in the future thanks in part to improved treatments such as personalised therapies, leading experts will tell patients at the 7th ESMO Patient Seminar. Providing appropriate care to these survivors, many of whom face lingering medical complications and psychological repercussions, will pose a difficult challenge for healthcare systems around the world.

Further late-breaking data available close to the Congress...

The conference full program is available at

Press briefings - Multidisciplinary treatment (Press Breakfast) Saturday, 13 September 2008, 9:30-10:30, ESMO Press Room - Improving treatment and access to treatment (Press Conference) Saturday, 13 September 2008, 12:45-13:45, Press Conference Room - Gastrointestinal and other cancers (Press Conference) Sunday, 14 September 2008, 12:30-13:30, Press Conference Room - Cancers affecting women (Press Conference) Monday, 15 September 2008, 12:30-13:30, Press Conference Room Please contact the ESMO Communication in order to schedule one-on-one interviews with top speakers.

On-site registration will be possible at the Press registration desk presenting the filled-out Complimentary Media Registration form and your press card.

Contact: ESMO Press Room: Vanessa Pavinato Phone: +41-91-973-19-07 E-Mail:

Contact: ESMO Press Room: Vanessa Pavinato, Phone: +41-91-973-19-07, E-Mail: