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NCRI 2021: Cancer researchers reconvene virtually for UK’s largest cancer conference


We highlight the ICR science being presented at this year’s virtual NCRI Festival.

Posted on 04 November, 2021 by Julia Bakker and Molly Andrews


Image credit: NCRI

Next week the UK’s largest cancer conference – hosted by The National Cancer Research Institute Cancer (NCRI) – will kick off as part of the virtual ‘NCRI Festival’. From Monday to Friday, the 8-12 November, the NCRI Festival will bring together researchers, clinicians, people impacted by cancer, and industry representatives to showcase the latest advances in oncology.

For the second time, the NCRI conference will take place virtually – keeping researchers and clinicians connected, despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keep reading for a summary of the research being presented by our scientists and some other highlights.

Prostate cancer screening for men with higher risk

Professor Ros Eeles, is presenting research from the IMPACT study, which was published in The Lancet Oncology last month.

The team found that men with Lynch syndrome – an inherited condition which causes some people to have a higher risk of developing certain cancers – could benefit from regular PSA testing from age 40 to detect early signs of cancer.

The study found that annual PSA testing could pick up cases of prostate cancer up to eight times as often in men with genetic hallmarks of Lynch syndrome.

Read the abstract here. On Monday 8 November at 17:00 on the Research Stage.

Can men with early-stage testicular cancer have fewer scans?

The findings of the TRISST trial, led by Professor Robert Huddart, will be presented at the NCRI Festival by Dr Aslam Sohaib, Consultant Radiologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

The trial investigated whether, during post-treatment monitoring, MRI scans could be as effective as computerized tomography (CT) scans at picking up signs of cancer’s relapse. This would mean some men could be freed from some of the harmful radiation that comes from CT imaging.

Read the abstract here. On Tuesday 9 November at 13:15 on the Research Stage.

Shifting to telephone consultations in clinical trial follow-up

During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became impractical and potentially unsafe for clinical trial follow-up appointments to take place as in-person consultations. For trials managed by the ICR’s Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit (ICR-CTSU), telephone follow-up was permitted instead.

Dr Lara Philipps will be presenting data reporting on the uptake of telephone follow-ups within three prostate cancer radiotherapy trials managed by ICR-CTSU, and the effect it had on data collection, particularly where adverse events were reported.

This abstract has been awarded the Royal College of Radiologists Ross Award.

Read the abstract here. On Tuesday 9 November at 18:30.

Room for improvement – the gaps in reporting of dose-finding oncology trials

Reports of early-stage, dose-finding trials frequently leave out important information about the way a trial was designed, conducted and analysed. Gaps in the way these trials are reported could hinder the interpretation and reproducibility of a study, ultimately slowing the development of new treatments.

Professor Christina Yap will present the findings of a methodological review that looked at the reporting of dose-finding trials published between 2011-2020. The findings highlight the need for robust and comprehensive guidance for both authors and journals involved in reporting dose-finding trials.

Read the abstract here. On Wednesday 12 November at 15:45 on the Research Stage.

What will cancer research and care look like in the year 2035?

The NCRI Festival will feature a series of talks with a spotlight on cancer in the year 2035. This will include sessions on equality, diversity and inclusion in the research community and clinical trials, with interactive panel discussions to consider examples of solutions that could reduce inequality in these settings. 

There will also be a session focused on how cancer care will meet the challenges of an ageing population, and Professor Judith Bliss will chair a session on cancer trials post Covid-19, looking at how we can future-proof trials against future pandemic-related disruption.

On Friday 10 November at 14:30 on the Strategy Stage.

New clinical trials 

A number of trials led by the ICR and The Royal Marsden are being presented at the NCRI conference: 

  • The PEARLS trial, launched in June, aims to compare standard radiotherapy with ‘extended field radiotherapy’ in some men with prostate cancer, to examine whether this improves outcomes in prostate cancer patients whose cancer has spread to one or more of the lymph nodes near the prostate (poster presentation). 

  • The INSPIRE trial is examining the radiation exposure of healthy tissue when radioactive iodine is used to treat thyroid cancer. The trial is currently being expanded to run as a UK multi-centre trial (poster presentation). 

  • The RE-ARM trial, launched in summer 2021, is comparing treatment approaches for patients with urothelial carcinoma (poster presentation). 

More ICR research at NCRI 

  • Combining bioengineering and immunotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer involving Dr Anguraj Sandanandam, presented by Chanthirika Ragulan (poster and short talk Monday 8 November at 18:30). Read the abstract here.

  • Comparing electronic versus paper-based collection of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in clinical trials, presented by Dr Lara Philipps (poster). Read the abstract here.

  • Breast cancer prevention through lifestyle changes, Miss Jennifer Rusby (poster). Read the abstract here.

  • Managing side effects in some patients with metastatic breast cancer who are being treated with the drugs tucatinib, trastuzumab, and capecitabine presented by Dr Alicia Okines (short talk, Tuesday 9 November at 18:30). Read the abstract here.

  • A session chaired by Professor Glenn Flux and featuring a presentation from Dr Jonathan Gear, on the topic of molecular radiotherapy (presentation, Thursday 11 Nov at 17:30).

  • Perceived usefulness of patient-reported outcomes in early phase trials that aim to establish the appropriate dose of a new drug or treatment presented by Professor Christina Yap (poster and short talk, Tuesday 09 Nov at 18:30). Read the abstract here.

  • Results from the phase III trial JAVELIN Renal 101, comparing different treatment approaches in advanced renal cell carcinoma, Professor James Larkin (presentation, Thursday 11 Nov at 14:15). Read the abstract here. 

Check out the full programme now.

Enjoy the conference and join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCRIFestival!


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