ASCO 2024 to Highlight “Art and Science” of Cancer Care


Topics at the upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology include the impact of artificial intelligence and the best way to deliver palliative care.

From a session with Microsoft to a late-breaking clinical trial highlighting palliative care, the 2024 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) promises to break the mold when an estimated 40,000 clinicians, scientists, patient advocates, and business leaders descend on Chicago from Friday, May 31, through Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, FASCO | Image credit: Penn Medicine

Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, FASCO | Image credit: Penn Medicine

More than 200 sessions are built around this year’s theme, “The Art and Science of Cancer Care: From Comfort to Cure,” selected by 2023-2024 ASCO President Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, FASCO, who is the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Professor of Clinical Oncology and director of the Tara Miller Melanoma Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center in the Perelman School of Medicine.

Jonathan M. Carlson, MD, PhD | Image credit: Microsoft

Jonathan M. Carlson, MD, PhD | Image credit: Microsoft

Schucter’s presidential session on Saturday will feature a talk, “The Emergence of General Artificial Intelligence for Medicine,” by Jonathan M. Carlson, PhD. As managing director, Microsoft Health Futures, Carlson leads life science incubation and partnerships at the technology giant. The session will also include remarks by W. Kimryn Rathmel, MD, PhD, FASCO, director of the National Cancer Institute.

The presidential session will follow a Saturday symposium on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in cancer care, while Sunday’s plenary session includes a trial that compares the effectiveness of palliative care via telehealth vs in-person delivery among patients with advanced lung cancer (NCT03375489). The findings, to be presented by Joseph A. Greer, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, are among several results involving the intersection of supportive care and technology that will be presented:

William Dale, MD, PhD, FASCO | Image credit: City of Hope

William Dale, MD, PhD, FASCO | Image credit: City of Hope

  • A pair of abstracts from City of Hope, in Duarte, California, will evaluate the use of geriatric assessments and supportive care for patients in Antelope Valley, California, where telehealth was an option, as well as a program delivered in remote areas of Brazil. City of Hope’s William Dale, MD, PhD, FASCO, who is senior author on both studies, will receive the B.J. Kennedy Geriatric Oncology Award during the meeting.
Ravi Parikh, MD, MPP | Image credit: LinkedIn

Ravi Parikh, MD, MPP | Image credit: LinkedIn

  • Results to be presented by Ravi Parikh, MD, MPP, director of the Human-Algorithm Collaboration Lab at Penn, will highlight the use of an algorithm and digital checkpoint in referring patients for palliative care at Tennessee Oncology.

This year’s ASCO meeting will combine news on cutting-edge therapies with fundamentals, including how to have difficult conversations—something many physicians say does not get enough attention in medical training. The in-person-only workshop, “Navigating Communication with Seriously Ill Patients,” will feature demonstrations with patient actors and small breakout discussions.

Lots of News in Lung Cancer

In addition to the study comparing palliative care options, 2 other trials to be presented during Sunday’s plenary session involve lung cancer. They are:

  • The phase 3 LAURA study (NCT03521154) in which previously announced topline results showed osimertinib (Tagrisso) after chemoradiotherapy produced clinically meaningful progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with unresectable stage III epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated NSCLC; and
  • The phase 3 ADRIATIC study (NCT03703297), involving durvalumab (Imfinzi) plus tremelimumab (Imjudo) as consolidation therapy for patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer. Positive topline results for ADRIATIC were announced in April.

Monday morning’s session on lung cancer will include late-breaking results from the phase 3 CheckMate 77T study (NCT04025879), evaluating perioperative nivolumab (Opdivo) by nodal status among patients with stage III resectable NSCLC. Results published ahead of ASCO in the New England Journal of Medicine show the regimen produces longer event-free survival.

Updates in Multiple Myeloma

With the recent FDA advisory committee vote to allow minimal residual disease (MRD) to serve as a surrogate end point in multiple myeloma trials, key immunotherapy trials in a Monday afternoon session on hematologic malignancies may produce evidence in support of this shift. Studies being presented include:

  • Paula Rodriguez-Otero, MD, PhD, Department of Hematology at Clinica Universidad de Navara, will present an MRD analysis of PERSEUS, which previously showed that daratumumab (Darzalex) combined plus the triplet of bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone (VRd) in newly diagnosed transplant-eligible patients produced PFS of 84.3% at 4 years, compared with 67.7% with VRd,
  • Thierry Facon, MD, professor of hematology at the University of Lille, France, will present results from IMROZ, which evaluated isatuximab (Sarclisa) plus VRd vs VRd along in transplant-ineligible patients.

News About ADCs Abounds

Multiple presentations involve antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), which combine properties of targeted therapies with the cancer-killing power of a cytotoxic payload, delivered with a “linker” that directs the powerful therapy while sparing surrounding tissue. Erika P. Hamilton, MD, director of Breast Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, will chair the Sunday morning session, “Next-Generation Antibody–Drug Conjugates: The Revolution Continues,” which will include:

  • Results for the LUMINOSITY trial (NCT03539536), evaluating telisotuzumab vedotin monotherapy in patients with previously treated c-Met–overexpressing non-squamous EGFR wildtype advanced NSCLC.
  • Results for the phase 3 OptiTROP-Breast01 study (NCT05347134), which evaluates sacituzumab tirumotecan among those previously treated for locally recurrent or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.
  • DREAMM-8 results (NCT04484623) involving belantamab mafodotin plus pomalidomide and dexamethasone vs pomalidomide plus bortezomib and dexamethasone in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

Another much-anticipated trial will be presented early Sunday, when full results for DESTINY-Breast06 (NCT04494425) demonstrate the effectiveness of trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) vs physician’s choice of chemotherapy in patients with HR+, HER2-low or HER2-immunohistochemistry (IHC) >0<1+ metastatic breast cancer.

A pair of late-breaking abstracts from the I-SPY2.2 trial (NCT01042379) involving datopotamab deruxtecan will be presented during the meeting: the first, to be presented Friday, evaluates rates of pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant datopotamab dertuxtecan; and the second, to be presented Monday, evaluates pCR after datopotamab deruxtecan plus durvalumab in the neoadjuvant setting. Datopotamab deruxtecan is being evaluated in a variety of tumor types.

Finally, ASCO’s Chief Medical Officer Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO, will lead a Monday morning discussion on a problem vexing clinicians every day for more than a year: drug shortages. “Solving Decades of Drug Shortages in Oncology: What, Who, and When?” will include FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD, and stakeholders from the realms of biosimilars and alternate pharmacy suppliers.

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