For me the three-month period leading up to the annual ENETS conference is getting increasingly busier. For the past 2 years I have had the privilege of chairing the abstract committee along with Philippe Ruzniewski and Anne Couvelard. This means I have an additional burden prior to the meeting and this year we took on the additional task of having poster walks. Over 370 abstract were received, about 70 basic science and the remaining being clinical although a lot of these are case reports. As always there is a considerable mixture, with updates from previously presented work but one hopes to see a few new reports. There is an increasing trend to report epidemiology data, all of which confirmed the rising incidence and prevalence and perhaps the most important is the recent SEER date showing an incidence of nearly 7 cases per 100,000 population. In UK terms this means around 4000 cases a year and this does seem to correlate quite nicely with the Public Health England data that John Ramage and others presented at the meeting.
In general oncology the main excitement at present centres around the PD and PDL 1 inhibitors and not surprisingly they are beginning to make their impact in neuroendocrine tumours. There was an interesting paper in the basic science section showing PDL-1 receptors are expressed in NETS and there are some early clinical reports of benefit. Two centres in the UK are participating in a clinical trial with the Novartis PDR 1 inhibitor. There are continuing reports about the use of PRRT extending our knowledge and understanding and also some reports looking at combining PRRT with chemotherapy and also retreatment. Hopefully not long after reading this newsletter we will be seeing the decision from the EMA on the approval of PRRT with 177Lutetium and by the end of the year it would be nice to think it will be readily available for all patients in the UK.
Probably one of the unexpected successes of the conference was the poster walk. This is where one of the faculty leads a group around viewing 10 posters and asking the poster presenter to present the data and then use this for an educational discussion. This was a new concept to me but apparently has been successfully trialled at other conferences and therefore it was with some trepidation that the ENETs team assembled a package for these walks. We were concerned that we would get 10 leading experts in the field to lead these walks and no one would turn up but in fact they were generally well attended and the feedback seems to be very positive and enthusiastic and one that we will clearly repeat but perhaps learn from our experiences. The poster presenters seem particularly positive about it and many were thrilled at the amount of attention that their posters received from not only the experts but also the delegates.
It is good to see that the UK remains very well represented in the Centre of Excellence program and that another new centre has joined the club and we are now planning to apply as a joint Scottish Centre in the near future. The other exciting development was the joint session with the patient representative group (INCA) which was well attended and positively received and I suspect will be commented on by others who write within this newsletter.
Finally, by the time you read this it will be less than 6 months before you have to submit your next abstract and that means it will not be long before we start the whole program of scoring and selecting again. Have a good summer and if the papers are to be believed, the Glasgow Herald this week has forecasted a better than expected summer in Scotland, but do you believe everything you read in the papers?? So for those of you planning to go to Scotland in the summer maybe this year it will be T-shirt’s and not galoshes!