World cancer research day: lessons from the European cancer research landscape

On this year’s world cancer research day, Molecular Oncology highlights a recently-published report on the European Cancer Research Summit in Porto.

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A cancer research journal may mark the world cancer research day in various ways: congratulate cancer researchers of all areas and levels of expertise for their devoted work; review recent content and highlight outstanding studies; or discuss the necessity for cancer researchers from all fronts to team up and exchange on future directions.

To highlight the importance of vivid exchange and fruitful planning of the future steps of cancer researchers, Molecular Oncology chose to feature the meeting report from the European Cancer Research Summit on this year’s world cancer research day.

 Key stakeholders from cancer research met in May 2021 at the European Cancer Research Summit in Porto to discuss priorities and specific action points required for the successful implementation of the European Cancer Mission and Europe's Beating Cancer Plan – two initiatives of the European Union that are expected to foster cancer research at all fronts in the years to come. Speakers presented a unified view about the need to establish high-quality, networked infrastructures. These infrastructures are needed, according to cancer researchers and policy-makers, to achieve four key goals: decrease cancer incidence; increase the cure rate;improve patient's survival and quality of life; and deal with research and care inequalities across the European Union. Such infrastructures, featuring Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CCCs) as key components, are expected to integrate cancer care, prevention and research to support the development of personalized/precision cancer medicine in Europe.

 Summit speakers agreed that three pillars will define the recommended European infrastructures – namely translational research, clinical/prevention trials and outcomes research. Translational research lies at the intersection between pre-clinical and clinical research. Summit participants coming from this field focused on the current status and prospects of translational research, with a focus on multiomics-assisted preclinical research, progress in Molecular and Digital Pathology, immunotherapy, liquid biopsy and science data.

 The clinical/prevention trial session presented the requirements for next-generation, multicentric trials entailing unified strategies for patient stratification, imaging, and biospecimen acquisition and storage. Outcomes research was highlighted as a challenging and promising area of cancer research that deserves more attention in the coming years. Outcomes research infrastructures need to cover primary prevention, early cancer detection, clinical effectiveness of innovations, health-related quality-of-life assessment, survivorship research and health economics.

This year’s European Cancer Research Summit highlighted how researchers can work together to shape future directions. In addition, an important outcome of the Summit was the presentation of the Porto Declaration, which called for a collective and committed action throughout Europe to develop the cancer research infrastructures indispensable for fostering innovation and decreasing inequalities within and between member states. Finally, the Summit guidelines will assist decision making in the context of a unique EU-wide cancer initiative that, if expertly implemented, will decrease the cancer death toll and improve the quality of life of those confronted with cancer, and this is carried out at an affordable cost.

 Further reading:

Ringborg, U., Berns, A., Celis, J.E., Heitor, M., Tabernero, J., Schüz, ., Baumann, M., Henrique, R., Aapro, M., Basu, ., Beets-Tan, R., Besse, B., Cardoso, F., Carneiro, F., van den Eede, ., Eggermont, A., Fröhling, S., Galbraith, S., Garralda, ., Hanahan, D., Hofmarcher, T., Jönsson, B., Kallioniemi, O., Kásler, M., Kondorosi, E., Korbel, J., Lacombe, D., Carlos Machado, J., Martin-Moreno, .M., Meunier, F., Nagy, P., Nuciforo, P., Oberst, ., Oliveiera, J., Papatriantafyllou, M., Ricciardi, W., Roediger, ., Ryll, B., Schilsky, R., Scocca, G., Seruca, ., Soares, M., Steindorf, K., Valentini, V., Voest, E., Weiderpass, E., Wilking, N., Wren, A. and Zitvogel, L. (2021), The Porto European Cancer Research Summit 2021. Mol Oncol. https://doi.org/10.1002/1878-0261.13078

Molecular Oncology

Molecular Oncology is an Open Access international journal that highlights new discoveries, approaches, as well as technical developments, in basic, clinical and discovery-driven translational cancer research.