Lung Cancer Summit Co-Chair Advocates for Interactive, Evidence-Based Discussions in Evolving Field


Alfredo Addeo, MD, discusses the uniqueness of the 1-day Lung Cancer Summit and recent therapeutic advancements that have occurred in the lung cancer space.

Alfredo Addeo, MD

Alfredo Addeo, MD

Alfredo Addeo, MD

The 1st International Lung Cancer Summit took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 3, 2019, with an emphasis on creating an intimate and collaborative environment for attendees to be informed on the latest advances in lung cancer and to discuss pivotal remaining challenges.

The meeting, which was co-chaired by Alfredo Addeo, MD, a consultant medical oncologist at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, and Solange Peters, MD, PhD, professor and chair of medical oncology and the Thoracic Malignancies Program in the Department Oncology at the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, spanned a range of topics—from oligometastatic disease, to differentiating between immunotherapies, to which TKIs should be used in practice.

“What I’m enjoying about the summit is the very friendly environment,” said Addeo in an interview with OncLive. “We’re all colleagues and friends who have the same doubts when they see the patient. They want to share their views and they want room to do that. Perhaps we don’t have enough room at the moment to do this.”

Other updates in the paradigm that were discussed in detail included targeted agents for patients with biomarker-driven cancers, treatment options for nondriver patients with non—small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), small cell lung cancer, and much more.

In an interview during the 1st International Lung Cancer Summit, Addeo discussed the uniqueness of the 1-day conference and recent therapeutic advancements that have occurred in the lung cancer space.

OncLive: What were the goals of the 1st International Lung Cancer Summit. How did it come about?

Addeo: The goal of the meeting was to discuss a bit more thoroughly all of the evidence that we have seen coming out this year. Things have changed really rapidly, and they keep on changing. It’s very difficult sometimes to keep up with all of the evidence that we have, or to discuss it thoroughly.

The idea was: how about we set up a smaller meeting? We can all discuss a few topics, and really dig in and have a proper conversation that can be very interactive.

What sets this meeting apart from others that focus on lung cancer?

This meeting clearly has a different goal—a different aim. When you go to a meeting like the European Lung Cancer Congress, the ASCO Annual Meeting, or the ESMO Congress, [the meetings are often comprised of] trial results, new evidence, breakthrough evidence, or change-of-practice trials.

Here, it was more about a summit. Just a summary of all of the evidence we have seen so far and focusing on a few topics. But also, the advantage of a small meeting is that it is more interactive. It’s fine to go and have somebody lecturing you and giving you the data and presenting you with data, but now we’ve reached the level where we really want to ask questions and interact a lot more with the speaker(s). Even if we have a lot of evidence, there’s still a lot of gray area. It’s good to have time to go through these and discuss them in an open way.

What key topics were discussed in this year’s meeting?

At this meeting, we decided to focus on NSCLC primarily, and a bit of small cell lung cancer. We couldn’t really include mesothelioma, for instance, because we didn’t have enough time.

The topics are of course immunotherapy, which is a big, big topic at the moment, as well as targeted therapy. We decided to also add a few components, such as quality of life, which is very important and is an underestimated topic, frankly, which should be more relevant. We decided to give room to that.

The oligometastatic setting, is [an area] I would say, is its own entity. It often doesn’t get discussed too much, and it’s becoming more relevant with immunotherapy, radiotherapy, stereotactic radiotherapy. Having a session dedicated to oligometastatic disease makes a lot of sense.

What are the most exciting advancements that have recently occurred in the lung cancer space. What are some remaining challenges?

At the moment, we could say that things have improved quite remarkably. We have certainly improved some treatment for patients with driver mutations. That is one of the improvements we’ve had; however, for the vast majority, we have introduced immunotherapy. We have seen now, in the recent data, that there’s an increase in overall survival.

The limit is that we still lack a biomarker [for immunotherapy], so we’re not very good at all at selecting patients. Therefore, yes, there are patients who respond very well. They respond for a long time. However, we still have a big group of patients who don’t respond at all, and we still don’t understand why or how we can improve. There’s still room for improvement in the way we select the patient and improve the treatment we are giving. We need to improve our patient selection.

How could the Lung Cancer Summit evolve in 2020?

I would say I’m very much hoping to keep it as it is—being very informal, very open and friendly so that everybody can chip in with a question—and to keep it online. It’s essential to broadcast it; this kind of meeting needs to be broadcast.

We might change, perhaps, the topics. We might decide to perhaps focus a bit more on mesothelioma if something interesting comes out, like new treatment. We have been discussing cell therapy, for example.

The idea is to keep the format as it is; perhaps we might change topics, we might have mesothelioma onboard and perhaps take out something else, but the idea anyway is to keep it more or less as it is.

For me, what is really important is that it is not just the topic, but it’s really the friendly environment and the very relaxed attitude where we can all ask questions without having that kind of fear or a bit of embarrassment about asking a question—that is something I frankly don’t want.

What has been your experience chairing this summit?

During conferences, very often, there is a lot of data to present, and there’s no time for discussion. Therefore, when we’re at the bedside, or when we’re with a patient, we do wonder. If I have a question that I’d like to get off my chest, it’s a good opportunity at the summit to do that—to say, “Okay, we’ll discuss it. It’s not only your doubt, it’s my doubt, too.”

We can perhaps share our views and come up with some kind of decision that might be helpful for somebody. Or, [an attendee] might feel more comfortable now that they know I do exactly as they would do—I may back them up on something. That is what I think makes this summit special.

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