Markers in Cancer 2012, to be Held October 11–13, Will Seek to Move the Field of Biomarkers to the Next Phase

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There are hundreds and hundreds of papers published on biomarkers in cancer each year, but very few make it over the hurdles necessary to be used in actual patient care, said James L. Abbruzzese, MD, Chair of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Overcoming those hurdles will be the main focus at Markers in Cancer 2012, to be held in Hollywood, Florida, on October 11–13. The theme: Bridging the Translational Divides.

“Speakers will provide critical thinking on developing a road map for translating marker research to patient care through improved study design and better statistics, giving almost a cookbook, providing a series of strides that need to be made in order to get FDA approval,” said Dr. Abbruzzese, Chair of the Organizing Committee for the meeting.

Especially Important for Clinical and Translational Researchers

The meeting, which alternates between being held in the United States and Europe, is sponsored by ASCO, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), and NCI. Formerly known as the ASCO-NCI-EORTC Annual Meeting on Molecular Markers in Cancer, the conference presents the latest advances in cancer markers to assess drug efficacy, improve prognostic and predictive evaluations and imaging, and enhance clinical trial development.

“In many ways, this is becoming an increasingly more important conference, especially for clinical and translational researchers,” said Walter M. Stadler, MD, Chair of the meeting’s Scientific Committee, Fred C. Buffett Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Associate Dean for Clinical Research, and Director of the Genitourinary Program at the University of Chicago Medicine. “At almost any conference you go to now, everyone talks about personalized cancer care, and the only way to do that is with biomarkers, and yet we don’t have a lot of rigorous discussion on how to move biomarker science forward.”

Audience Has Expanded

The NCI and EORTC recognized the importance of biomarker science in 2000 with the first Molecular Markers Meeting held in Copenhagen. The explosion of new biomarker information and pharmacotherapeutics now mandates a meeting that is more inclusive of the basic, preclinical, and clinical researcher. Thus, the conference is now designed for clinicians, pathologists, laboratory scientists, statisticians, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies who are interested in cancer, and those that specialize in molecular diagnostics.

The hope this year, said Dr. Abbruzzese, is that some consensus can be reached on which way to go.

“As technology has developed, the sequencing, imaging and specific physiological underpinnings of cancer have become a much more robust area for research,” he said. “The problem is that everyone has their favorite biomarker or lab technique, and is busy trying to apply it to a small number of patients, and yet somehow we never get to the goal of getting this to help manage a large number of patients. We need to come together on this.”

The meeting will be structured as educational talks followed by dedicated time for discussion with speakers. Other features are oral presentations of top abstracts, poster sessions, and ample opportunities for networking.

“Attendees can look forward to a set of internationally recognized speakers, as well as a lot of time built in for scientific interaction and collaboration,” said Dr. Stadler.

Premeeting Session for Early-career Oncologists

A Diagnostic Development Tutorial will take place prior to the start of the meeting, on October 10 and 11. The two-day tutorial is an interactive seminar designed to help selected early-career oncologists and industry and regulatory representatives learn about biomarker development, from discovery through validation and clinical trials. Interested academic and industry participants can apply at The deadline for academic applicants is June 22; the deadline for industry applicants is September 5.

Register and Reserve Housing Today

The housing and early registration deadline for Markers in Cancer 2012 is September 5 at 11:59 PM (EDT). View the program agenda, register, or reserve housing at ■

© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.