Preview of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress - EMG

Preview of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress

7 Mins

Written by James Coker  |  Reporter, European Medical Journal  @EMJJamesCoker

From 19th–23rd October, Munich, Germany will host this year’s edition of the annual ESMO Congress at the world-famous Messe Munich convention centre. Under the tagline: ‘Securing access to optimal cancer care’, the event will include access to a vast array of exciting new findings produced by oncology researchers from across the globe. Another important aspect of the congress is its ability to foster increased collaboration between all stakeholders in the field of oncology, including researchers, clinicians, cancer nurses, industry partners, and patient advocates; it is hoped this will lead to new initiatives that enhance patient access to high-quality care, as has been observed at previous events. A new feature this year is a dedicated nursing track, brought about through a collaboration with the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS). The EMJ will be on hand to observe all of this before subsequently reporting our analysis in the next edition of the EMJ Oncology eJournal, which will be published in December. You can subscribe here to our oncology content for free to receive immediate news of this publication.

History of the Congress

The first meeting of what was then known as Société de Médecine Interne Cancérologique took place in the city of Nice, France at the Hotel Negresco. Here there were 100 attendees, whereas at last year’s congress, for example, there were nearly 24,000 registered participants, demonstrating the extent to which the event has grown since that time. The event has also become increasingly internationalised over the years; during the first few congresses of the society, the participants were primarily French speaking together with oncologists from Italy, Spain, the UK, and the USA. At the 2017 meeting, however, attendees hailed from over 130 countries worldwide.1

Interesting Fact

It was in 1980, 5 years after its formation, that the society’s name was changed from Société de Médecine Interne Cancérologique to ESMO. This was done in order to reflect its transformation into a pan-European organisation.1

Last Time Out

In 2017, the ESMO Congress was held in the stunning city of Madrid, Spain from 8th­–12th September. In front of a large audience encompassing a variety of roles in oncology, many groundbreaking findings were presented. These included a comparison of the efficacy of docetaxel-based triplet therapy with standard therapy in the treatment of resectable oesophago-gastric cancer, the side effects that affect quality of life in young cancer survivors that occur following their cancer treatment, and an analysis of the socio-psychological factors that result from chemotherapy for cancer patients. All of this and much more can be found in our review of the event in last year’s EMJ Oncology journal, which can be accessed here.

Important Timings

The joint opening session and award lectures will begin the congress in fine style on Day 1 from 12.00–13.20 on 19th October in Hall A2 – Room 18. Later during the same day there is a special session entitled: ‘Sharing the power – ESMO Women for Oncology Forum’ which will include a number of presentations from various women oncology groups. This will take place from 13.30–15.30 in Hall B4 – Room 24.2

During the course of the event there are three highly-anticipated Keynote Lectures scheduled, aimed at tackling major topics in the field. The first of these is on Day 2, 20th October, and will be delivered by Prof Thomas Helleday. The title of this is: ‘Mutation signatures and targeting the DNA damage response’. The second will come courtesy of Prof Thomas Gajewski on 21st October, and is entitled: ‘How do we manipulate the tumour microenvironment for immunotherapy?’ The following day Antoni Ribas will deliver the last of the Keynote Lectures, and this one is titled: ‘Beyond resistance in immuno-oncology’. These will take place in Hall A1 – Room 17 from 08.15–09.00 on each of the respective days.

As always, the exhibition will be a major aspect of this year’s ESMO Congress. This is located in Halls B1 and B2 and will give oncology professionals the chance to view and discuss the latest products and initiatives by the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industries. There will also be a large area dedicated to non-profit societies, national societies, and patient advocates from the field, meaning there are vast networking opportunities for everyone in attendance. This area will be open during the first 4 days of the congress: on Friday 19th October from 13.00–17.00, Saturday 20th October from 10.00–17.00, Sunday 21st October from 10.00–17.00, and Monday 22nd October from 10.00–16.30. We will have members of our team present at our stand during these hours, so please do pop by for a chat and to subscribe to our publication for free!3

Hot Topics

There are a vast array of topics that will be covered throughout the various e-Poster and Oral presentations given, ensuring there will be plenty on offer for all participants. These are the following: Acne and Related Disorders, Hidradenitis Suppurativa; Adverse Drug Reactions, TEN; Allergology and Immunology; Angiology, Haemangiomas, Vascular Malformations, Vasculitis; Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema; Autoimmune Bullous Diseases; Autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorders; Biologics, Immunotherapy, Molecularly Targeted Therapy; CME-CPD; Contact and Occupational Dermatitis; Corrective, Aesthetic and Cosmetic Dermatology; Cutaneous Oncology; Dermatological Practice Management; Dermatological Surgery; Dermatology and Internal Medicine, including Skin Manifestations of Systemic Diseases; Dermatopathology; Dermoscopy; Diagnostic Procedures; Economics in Dermatology, Ethics in Dermatology; Epidemiology; Genetics; Gynaecological D/V, Gender D/V; Hair Disorders/Diseases; History of D/V; Infectious Diseases, Parasitic Diseases, Infestations; Inflammatory Skin Diseases; Inherited Skin Diseases; Lasers; Media, Information and Communication Technology (ICT); Miscellaneous; Nail Disorders/Diseases; Oral Mucosa and other Skin-adjacent Mucous Membranes; Paediatric Dermatology; Pharmacology and Skin-related Toxicology, Phlebology; Photobiology and Photoallergy; Phototherapy, Photodynamic Therapy; Pigmentary Diseases; Pregnancy-related Dermatoses; Pruritus; Psoriasis; Psychodermatology; Quality of Life; Research in D/V, Experimental D/V; Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV/AIDS; Systemic Treatment; Topical Therapy; Tropical Dermatovenereology; Urticaria, Angioedema; Wounds, Chronic Wounds, Wound Healing, Ulcer.

Social Media

The official ESMO social media channels will be full of live updates throughout the 5 days. To stay attuned to these keep a close eye on their Twitter (@myESMO) and Facebook ( pages. The attending EMJ team will also be posting updates of their experiences of the event: feel free to tweet us at @EMJReviews and @EMJOncology using the congress hashtag #ESMO18.

History of the City

Munich was founded in 1158 by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria. The history of the city has been strongly influenced by war; for example, it was previously occupied by the King of Sweden, Gustavus II. Munich was made capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1806, prior to the creation of a unified Germany in 1871. The city was then at the heart of many important events that shaped the modern world during the 20th century, most notably in the build up to and aftermath of the two World Wars, becoming badly damaged during World War II. Munich was, however, extensively rebuilt, developing into a vibrant and economically successful region that attracts millions of visitors every year.4

Places to Visit

Munich is steeped in tradition and history, offering numerous places of interest to visit. If you find you have some spare time during your stay in the city for the ESMO Congress, here is a selection of places you may wish to see:

Frauenkirche (The Cathedral of Our Lady): Constructed during the years of 1468–88, this stunningly beautiful building has been the main church and cathedral of southern Bavaria’s ecclesiastical provinces since the establishment of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1821.5

Englischer Garten (English Garden): Covering 900 acres, this scenic park is a wonderful place to walk in, particularly during the summer months.6

BMW Museum: For those who love cars, the history of this iconic brand can be relived in the city where it all began back in 1916.7

ESMO 2018 promises to be a stimulating event offering plenty of enlightening sessions and networking opportunities for all stakeholders in the field of oncology. With the EMJ team in attendance throughout we would love to interact with as many participants as possible! You can find our friendly team at our stand in the exhibition, so feel free to come by and chat to us at any time!




  1. ESMO. ESMO Timeline. Available at: Last accessed: 12 September 2018.
  2. ESMO. ESMO 2018: Programme. Available at: Last accessed: 12 September 2018.
  3. ESMO. ESMO 2018: Exhibition and Society Village. Available at: Last accessed: 12 September 2018.
  4. Discover Munich. History. Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.
  5. Dearsley B. Exploring Munich’s Frauenkirche (The Cathedral of Our Lady). Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.
  6. Rogers BR. 16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Munich. Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.
  7. BMW Welt. General Information. Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.

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