The 14th Central European Lung Cancer Conference (CELCC) was held from 29 November until 2 December 2014, in Vienna, Austria (1).
The Central European Lung Cancer Conferences have a long academic tradition for over two decades and have regularly been held in various cities of Central Europe since 1992. These multidisciplinary conferences focused on both education and scientific developments in the field of lung cancer by offering symposia, oral sessions, poster sessions and satellite symposia.
This year’s conference was held in Vienna (Figure 1), which is an excellent venue for this Conference because of its central location in Europe and easy accessibility from all parts of the world. Despite the cold with rain outside, people can leisurely enjoy their time on the street full of splendid lights shaped in interesting form (for Christmas), with a cup of “Punsch” (a popular local wine), let alone the friendly and warm atmosphere inside the conference room and the exhibition hall.
With the honor to become the academic partner for the conference, Translational Lung Cancer Research (TLCR) has worked with the conference to publish a special issue dedicated to the 14th CELCC, under the leadership of Prof. Robert Pirker, the Conference Chair and the Chair for the Chinese-Central European Symposium, and Prof. Caicun Zhou, the co-Chair for the Chinese-Central European Symposium. The special issue (http://www.tlcr.org/issue/view/112) covers timely topics with regard to diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, and also contains the abstracts submitted for presentations during the 14th CELCC. Apart from being included in the conference bag (Figure 2), the special issue was exhibited at our booth of “AME editorial office” (Figure 3).
Opening of the conference
Besides molecular diagnosis and targeted therapies, this year’s conference featured the Chinese-Central European Symposium with the presentation of a group of Chinese key experts on lung cancer. While primary prevention and screening in Central Europe were put under the spotlight, recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer were updated.
The audience was surprised to learn that November 29th is the birthday of Prof. Robert Pirker. Applause came as the best wishes to Prof. Pirker in the big event.
Together we are ushered into the new journey of exploring the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
Interactive session: molecular biology for clinicians
On the first morning (November 30th) of CELCC, we welcomed the speeches by the experts from different countries of Central Europe.
Prof. Ales Ryska emphasized the importance of re-biopsy in order to gain as much information as possible, and more efforts should be made to develop targeted drugs based on found targets. Accordingly, the treatment strategy should vary dependent on the proven target.
Prof. Jozsef Timar mentioned that the higher requirements of differential diagnosis in pathology and molecular diagnosis of lung cancer entail an improvement in both the quantity and quality of the tumor sample. In terms of molecular detection, taking EGFR as an example, methods like Sanger, Quiagen, Cobas and NGS have been widely used. He underlined that pathologists should keep in mind the multidisciplinary concept and work closely with clinicians and doctors who perform bronchoscopy or other interventions for collection of tumor specimens.
Following Prof. Martin Filipits’s introduction of the Methods & Interpretation for Molecular Analysis, Prof. Gyula Ostoros expanded on the in-depth study of KRAS in Lung Cancer. KRAS mutations have been reported as a negative prognostic and predictive factor in patients with NSCLC treated with EGFR-TKIs. He pointed out that KRAS codon 12 and codon 13 mutations are no better prognostic and predictive factors in first-line chemotherapy than the KRASs-wild type. Nevertheless, the four subtypes of codon 12 (G12C, G12V, G12D, G12A) mutations have different predictive function. “Given the heterogeneous and complicated nature of KRAS-mutations, more studies are still needed for further illustration of their clinical relevance.” Prof. Ostoros concluded.
Chinese-Central European Symposium
The Chinese-Central European Symposium was chaired by Prof. Caicun Zhou from China and Prof. Robert Pirker from Austria in the first afternoon of the scientific meeting.
First and foremost, Prof Zhou introduced the Lung Cancer Epidemiology in Shanghai and China on the whole. He indicated that the incidence of lung cancer is much higher and still increasing in China compared to in other countries. These may be due to smoking, pollution, genetic susceptibility and other factors. Speaking of that, difference in pathological analysis could be seen: the incidence of squamous carcinomas is decreasing while lung adenocarcinomas are on the rise, among which EGFR mutations are seen in 68%. Prof. Zhou also indicated that the incidence of lung cancer is increasing among non-smoking females (Figure 10).
Prof. Xiuyi Zhi brought to our attention that November is officially the Lung Cancer Awareness Month and then focused on the primary prevention efforts in China. He indicated that the incidence of lung cancer is significantly related to the following three factors: air pollution (usually measured by PM2.5), indoor air pollution (as a result of smoking, cooking fume and interior decoration) and anger (psychological factor). Currently, the smoking ban is taken as the primary prevention, which in Prof. Zhi’s perspective has already taken effect but still more legislative and social efforts are needed (Figure 11).
An interesting discussion among the speakers and the attendees was triggered after Prof. Jacek Jassem (Figure 12) from Poland had introduced the smoking control policy in Poland. One of the widely discussed topics was around the increased incidence of lung cancer among non-smoking females. According to Prof. Zhi, air pollution, indoor air pollution and anger (psychological factor) may be the main reasons.
Next, Prof. Jie Wang (Figure 13) provided an overview on the management of advanced lung cancer in China. Prof. Yilong Wu then introduced the Chinese Thoracic Oncology Group (CTONG) and presented phase III clinical trials that CTONG is currently conducting (Figure 14).
Throughout the Conference, the program was compact and close-knit, and also provided a good opportunity for in-depth and extensive discussions in each session (Figure 15A,B). The conference further promoted research cooperation in Central Europe as researchers of the region were encouraged to present their latest results. The conference also offered opportunities for young doctors to discuss their ongoing or planned research projects. “I am sure the 14th Central European Lung Cancer Conference offered an excellent scientific program and enhanced co-operation within Central Europe and also initiated a closer scientific cooperation between China and Central Europe, particularly in the field of primary prevention strategies.” as Prof. Pirker summarized.
As invited participants of the congress, TLCR editors have had the pleasure in gathering together with the editorial board member, authors and readers’ onsite, including Prof. Fred Hirsch, Prof. Martin Filipits, Prof. Jacek Jassem, Prof. Branislav Perin, Prof. Nevena Secen, Prof. Wilfried Eberhardt and Prof. Helmut Popper and others (Figures 16-20). The free discussions between sessions and communications in coffee breaks provided us with an unforgettable experience. Here on behalf of the Translational Lung Cancer Research team, we would like to convey our sincere thanks to this great opportunity that Prof. Robert Pirker and the CELCC committee offered us to join the meeting and our appreciation to the authors who have made considerable contribution to the special issue dedicated to 14th CELCC.
We look forward to meeting you in next conference!
Disclosure: The author declares no conflict of interest.
- The program of the 14th Central European Lung Cancer Conference. Available online: http://www.mondial-congress.com/de/celcc2014