ECCO 2019 European Cancer Summit


Updated on 13 August 2019             

Thursday 12 September 2019

13:00 - 14:00

Since we met last time



After a welcome and introduction, the opening session will feature a report back on elements of progress made in respect to the themes and issues given attention at the ECCO 2018 European Cancer Summit.


ECCO 2019 Summit Co-Chairs: Prof Philip Poortmans, President of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) and Dr Ian Banks, Chair of the ECCO Patient Advisory Committee


In respect to resolutions for action passed at the ECCO 2018 Summit:

  • Prof Mehmet Ungan, President of WONCA Europe, will outline ongoing activities to achieve greater integration of primary care contribution to improving cancer patient outcomes.
  • Simon Oberst, Chair of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) Accreditation & Designation Programme, will speak to OECI and ECCO activities to help continually move forward quality of cancer care in all European countries.
  • Prof Françoise Meunier, Vice President of the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), will update on key legislative achievements in 2019 in respect to protecting cancer survivors from financial discrimination.



  • Kathy Oliver, Co-Director of the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA), will share recent work of the All.Can initiative, including a recent report of a survey of almost 4,000 people affected by different cancers across 10 countries.
  • Prof Yolande Lievens, Past President of the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), will provide an update on how principles of value based healthcare can achieve greater application to non-systemic treatment areas.

14:00 - 15:30

‘Putting a person on the moon’: How to deliver mission orientated cancer activity


The MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) group has recently stated that Beating Cancer is ‘Mission Possible’. ECCO couldn’t agree more.

But with a wealth of micro and macro missions stated on cancer, both nationally and internationally, what is the secret to implementation success in reaching ambitious goals?

The session will examine, variously, EU mission activity on cancer, sector and tumour specific targets for improvement, and the goal orientated approaches employed by ECCO member societies and patient associations.

How can multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary action be effectively harnessed and targeted towards obtainment of a shared goal in cancer?

What have we learned so far, and what are the secrets of mission success?


Prof Thierry Philip, President of the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI), which has been convening stakeholder organisations for consensus positioning on cancer mission related matters (see special edition of Tumori Journal, June 2019), will speak to the need for “A mission to fight inequalities in cancer all over Europe”.


Prof Mark Lawler of Queen’s University Belfast and the European Cancer Concord, will speak to the work of the Lancet Oncology Cancer Groundshot, highlighting the cost-effective, practical and proven measures for greatly improving outcomes in the fight against cancer that still remain to be fully taken up across Europe.


Prof Gilles Vassal, Past President of the European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe), will give perspective on the cancer mission opportunities in respect to paediatric cancer.


Perspectives of other stakeholders, including Maria Spyraki, MEP, will also be brought in to the panel and Q&A discussion component.  


15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 - 18:00 Resolution Session: Eliminating HPV related cancers


The goal of eliminating HPV related cancers is a mercifully obtainable one, but requires a truly multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary effort to achieve.

How close are we to reaching this goal? What still stands in the way? Can a fresh consensus and coalition for action be expressed and formed via the Summit session?


Co-led with the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), the session will investigate such matters as gender neutral vaccination, the economic evidence for prevention actions, and relevant and recent EU and national experiences in respect to combatting limiting factors such as the spread of ‘fake news’ about vaccination.


The session will be chaired by Prof Daniel Kelly, European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) Past President, and commenced with expert presentations including from Dr Murat Gultekin, Chair of the ESGO Prevention & Diagnostics Task Force and the European Network of Gynaecological Cancer Advocacy Groups (ENGAGe) and Dr Maria Kyrgiou, Imperial College London, UK.


Panellists from political, national and patient perspectives will help to interrogate the key issues, alongside the Summit audience.


The session will close with a live vote on a consensus resolution on the elimination of HPV related cancers and diseases, to be taken to the EU for implementation during the 2019-2024 mandate period, and to be the subject of further stakeholder activities after the Summit.

18:00 - 19:30 Welcome Reception


The Welcome Reception will take place at the ECCO 2019 Summit venue, Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place, and is open to all ECCO 2019 European Cancer Summit delegates.


Friday 13 September 2019

09:30 - 11:30 Artificial Intelligence: Breaking down borders in cancer care in ways not yet known?


Artificial intelligence in cancer care is now well past the realm of science fiction. It is here already. Some examples include:

  • The use of AI to evaluate if an X-ray is normal, allowing radiologists to focus their time more effectively on the analysis of abnormal images;
  • Machine learning techniques to improve the identification of DNA mutations within cancers and even to forecast future genetic changes; and,
  • A surge of start-up companies focused on using AI and machine learning to accelerate new drug discovery and optimal use of technology in surgery and radiation oncology.


The Summit session on AI, led by the European Society of Radiology (ESR), and moderated by Prof Regina Beets-Tan, Chair of the ESR Executive Council, will examine such matters as:

  • The ways in which AI is already impacting cancer care;
  • What can be expected in the future in respect to AI’s impact on cancer care; and,
  • How regulatory, commercial, governmental, healthcare professional and patient stakeholders are responding to AI trends in cancer care.


Following a scene setting presentation from Prof Ivana Isgum of the Image Sciences Institute at UMC Utrecht, perspectives and insights will be developed with speakers including:

  • Marco Marsella, Head of the “eHealth, Well-being, and Ageing” Unit in the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) of the European Commission
  • Sreeram Ramagopalan, Director of the Centre for Observational Research and Data Sciences (CORDS) at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)
  • Dr William Allum, Consultant Upper GI surgeon at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  • Prof Vincenzo Valentini, Past President of the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) 
  • Ivana Isgum, Associate Professor at the Image Sciences Institute at UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands 
11:30 - 11:45

Coffee Break

 11:45- 12:30 In conversation with… Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety 2014-2019


Dr Andriukaitis has been invited to provide his reflections on the achievements of the 2014-2019 European Commission mandate in respect to aiding countries in combating cancer and assisting patients to receive optimal care and treatment.


12:30 - 13:30


13:30 - 15:30 Accessing treatment across borders: don’t stop us now!


8 years since EU Member States agreed to the text of an EU Cross border healthcare directive, how far on are we in respect to enabling cancer treatment across borders?

Known barriers remain, including:

  • Difficulties in sharing patient data across borders and systems;
  • Ongoing reimbursement challenges, including financial toxicity for cancer patients when meeting out of pocket payments; and
  • A continuing challenge to raise healthcare professional and patient awareness of, and access to information about, their rights to cross border treatment.


The session will be led by Dr Ruth Ladenstein, project coordinator of the European Reference Network (ERN) for paediatric cancer, PAEDCAN, and draw in the experiences of other Reference Networks in cancer treatment, such as EURACAN and EUROBLOODNET (represented by Prof Pierre Fenaux).


Representing Childhood Cancer International, Lejla Kameric willspeak to patient experiences in this area, as well as the considerations for cross border treatment needs to be made for European patients living outside the EU. 


15:30 - 16:00 Coffee Break 
16:00 - 18:00 How does access to innovative cancer medicines fit in high quality cancer care and well-functioning health system as a whole?


Led by the European Cancer Leagues (ECL), this session will pick up on the recommendations and research of the ECL Access to Medicines Taskforce, which has brought attention to the disparities in availability of cancer treatments across Europe, some of the variety of factors underlying this, and potential mechanisms for European cooperation that may achieve improvement.


Moderated by Eveline Scheres, Chair of the ECL Access to Medicines Taskforce, the session will take insights from, among others:

  • Dr Detlev Parow, Head of Patient Care Management at DAK-Gesundheit, Germany
  • Usman Khan, Executive Director of the European Patients’ Forum
  • Alexandre Lourenço, President of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Managers, Portugal
20:00 - 22:30 Networking Event


The Networking event will take place at the iconic Atomium. Exchanging ideas with colleagues from around the world and enjoying exclusive access to four spheres of the Atomium will be a unique opportunity only available to the ECCO 2019 Summit delegates registered for the Networking event. For more information and to register, please click here



Saturday 14 September 2019

09:00 - 11:00

Clinical cancer research across Europe: Do we need to change tracks?


Precision oncology and new approaches to clinical trials are already forcing change in the way practitioners in the research environment think about evidence gathering. Meanwhile, there is a growing policy understanding of the need to employ a fuller suite of clinical outcomes within research, treatment evaluation and reimbursement decisions. This means making use of a stronger range of quality of life indicators alongside patient survival.


The session will be co-chaired by Dr Denis Lacombe, Director of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and Roger Wilson, sarcoma survivor and patient advocate. The content and focus will invite summit delegates to reflect on the existing landscape of clinical cancer research across Europe, and the possibilities for improvement by paradigm shift, with the ultimate goal of better enabling rationale access to therapeutic strategies. 


Building on the EORTC ‘Manifesto for a new approach for better medicine in Europe’ and recently published proposals for reforming the model for late translational research, the session will also reflect on the role of data in driving change and improvement in research, and the remaining obstacles to more meaningful exchange between systems in this area.


Finally, the session will also consider how models of clinical research in cancer in Europe can better involve the expertise and contributions of all healthcare professionals and the patient community. 


Among those assisting in the examination of these topics include:

  • Jo de Cock, CEO of the National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance, Belgium
  • Magda Chlebus, Executive Director of Science Policy at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)
11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 - 12:15
In conversation with…Dr. Blase N. Polite, Member of the ASCO Board of Directors


Dr Polite has been invited to share approaches by ASCO in the United States to issues and topic in focus at the European Cancer Summit, including in respect to improving quality of cancer care and ensuring better equity of access to treatment.


12:15 - 13:15

13:15 - 14:45

Specialisation in cancer care: It's a cross border issue



250 years ago economist Adam Smith set out how specialisation of workforces drives increased output and prosperity and helped trigger a global industrial revolution. Does specialisation in the cancer workforce have similar impacts for improving outcomes for patients and health systems?


Led by Emma Woodford, Chief Operating Officer of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), key matters to be addressed by the session will include:

  • The history of professional specialisation in cancer care, and benefits achieved
  • Factors driving oncology workforce specialisation in the present era, including scientific development, complexity of care, and new opportunities for professional development 
  • Case studies of specialisation in cancer care
  • Challenges to achieving specialisation, including:
    o Fragmentation in approaches across countries
    o National and EU level regulatory barriers and difficulties
  • Opportunities to further achieving and embedding specialisation in cancer care
  • Recommendations and conclusions to be carried forward for the European Commission term 2019-2024


To open up and explore these matters, the session will make use of the perspectives and experiences of a range of experts including, but not limited to:

  • Dr Andreas Charalambous, President Elect of the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS)
  • Prof Klaus Meier, President of the European Society of Oncology Pharmacy (ESOP) and Chair of the ECCO Oncopolicy Committee
  • Prof Sergio Sandrucci, European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO)
14:45 - 15:15 Coffee Break
15:15 - 16:45 Molecular tumour diagnostics in cancer care: should it be an essential requirement?


Co-led by Dr Peter Schirmacher, European Society of Pathology (ESP) and Dr Matti Aapro, European School of Oncology (ESO), the session will delve into such questions as:

  • In what ways is molecular testing already being used in cancer care in Europe and elsewhere?
  • What can we expect in the future?
  • How are regulatory and governmental stakeholders responding to molecular testing in cancer care?
  • How are professions responding to molecular testing?
  • What caveats around molecular testing must all stakeholders in cancer care be aware of?


After presenting on the potential, the needs and the challenges in the exciting field of molecular diagnostics, Dr Schirmacher will be assisted in opening up the subject for further examination by bringing in a variety of perspectives, including from:

  • Jan Geissler, the CML Advocates Network and ECCO Patient Advisory Committee (PAC)
  • Prof Sir John Burn, the European Hereditary Tumour Group (EHTG)
  • Prof Crispin Hiley, Radiation Oncology Consultant & Associate at the Francis Crick Institute, UK
  • Koen Norga, European Medicines Agency (EMA) 
  • Fatima Carneiro, European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO)
16:45 - 17:00 Summit Closing