Highlights of the Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC 2016)

Preventing lung cancer is a public health imperative
The 2016 IASLC Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC 2016) is being organized under the aegis of International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), Thai Society of Clinical Oncology (TSCO), Chiang Mai Lung Cancer Group, Faculty of Medicine at the Chiang Mai University (CMU) and the local organizing committee of APLCC 2016.

APLCC Returns to Chiang Mai
APLCC 2016 is the seventh regional biennial lung cancer conference, and it has returned to where it started in Chiang Mai, Thailand after 12 years.

“APLCC 2016 has come back to the host city of the first APLCC, which was organized by us in 2004,” said Professor Sumitra Thongprasert, Chair of APLCC 2016 and the chair of the first APLCC in 2004.

Feeling the urgent need to galvanize more action on lung cancer in the Asian-Pacific region, Prof Thongprasert played a key role in setting up the APLCC Lung Cancer Group, which helped organize this biennial regional scientific meeting. The venue shifted every two years:

  • 2nd APLCC was held in Guangzhou, China;
  • 3rd APLCC in Hyderabad, India; 
  • 4th APLCC in Seoul, South Korea; 
  • 5th APLCC in Fukuoka, Japan; 
  • 6th APLCC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and 
  • 7th APLCC returned to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

APLCC updates lung cancer experts with latest science  

The regional lung cancer conference provides an important platform for the latest scientific exchanges and academic networking for a range of experts playing a crucial role in lung cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and care.

“The main highlights of APLCC 2016 are the latest advances in lung cancer, especially basic and clinical research, immunotherapy, multidisciplinary practices in the Asian-Pacific region, practical clinical management, and also expert ideas and knowledge sharing from outside the region from different parts of the world, including the Americas and the European region. We have several invited speakers in key sessions, presenting on issues varying from pathology, surgery, early lung cancer detection; and cancer treatment aspects including radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, among others. The delegates will get an opportunity to learn and share in several thematic oral and poster presentations daily at APLCC 2016,” Prof Thongprasert said. 

Tobacco causes up to 90 percent of lung cancer cases 

“In addition to scientific sessions, there are important sessions on related and compelling public health aspects such as tobacco control,” Prof Thongprasert said.

Professor Prakit Vathesatogkit, Executive Secretary of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation of Thailand, will be one of the key speakers at the opening plenary of APLCC 2016. Prof Vathesatogkit is a globally recognized leader in tobacco control who has been instrumental in advancing tobacco control in Thailand.

Dr. Suthat Rungruanghirunya from Thai Health Professionals Alliance Against Tobacco (THPAAT), and Dr. Paul A. Bunn Jr, James Dudley Professor of Lung Cancer Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, USA and one of the distinguished members of IASLC, will also speak in the opening plenary of APLCC 2016.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking tobacco is the top risk factor for lung cancer, with 90 percent of cases attributed to tobacco use. People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than those who do not. The 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report stated that women smokers were 25.7 times more likely than women who never smoked to develop lung cancer. Male smokers were 25 times more at risk than men who never smoked. Smoke from other’s cigarettes, pipes, or cigars (secondhand smoke) also causes lung cancer. Quitting smoking at any age can lower the risk of lung cancer.

Not surprisingly, tobacco use is very high in the Asian-Pacific region, accounting for more than one-third of the world’s tobacco use. This region is home to 25 percent of the world’s smokers and 90 percent of the world’s smokeless tobacco users, about 246 million and 290 million people respectively. Tobacco causes 1.3 million deaths in the region every year, with 150 deaths occurring every hour in Southeast Asia alone.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. In Southeast Asia and China every year, there are approximately 800,000 new lung cancer cases and 750,000 lung cancer related deaths. China alone has 700,000 new lung cancer cases and 600,000 deaths every year. In India, 70,275 new cases of lung cancer occur every year and annual deaths hover at 63,759. In Thailand, in 2012 there were 19,505 new cases of lung cancer with 17,669 deaths. Undoubtedly, lung cancer is a significant cause of the loss of quality of life and premature death in the region. Despite scientific advancements in lung cancer management, outcomes are very poor with a less than 5 percent five-year survival rate.

“Lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death in the world. That is why APLCC 2016 features tobacco control sessions prominently on the scientific agenda. Preventing lung cancer is a top public health imperative,” Prof Thongprasert said.

Spotlight on plenary sessions at APLCC 2016 

Plenary sessions on the second day of APLCC 2016 focus on how to choose first, second, and third-line therapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and immunotherapy for NSCLC. Luminary speakers include Dr. Tony Mok, past President of IASLC; Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Dr. David Carbone, current President of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology, and director of the James Thoracic Oncology Center at Ohio State University in the USA.
Last but not least, the concluding day of APLCC 2016 will feature plenaries on clinical implications of the Tumor, Node, and Metastases (TNM) Staging 8th edition and on therapy for driver mutation positives in Asian NSCLC patients. Distinguished speakers will be Dr. Masahiro Tsuboi, Chief and Director, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Japan; and Dr. Tetsuya Mitsudomi, Professor at the Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Kinki University Faculty of Medicine, Osaka, Japan. Dr. Mitsudomi is also a Board Member of the Japan Clinical Research Organization (JCRO).

APLCC 2016 venue city turns 720 years old 

The city of Chiang Mai celebrates its 720th birthday in 2016. APLCC welcomes you to this northern Thai city. In addition to dwelling in the conference’s scientific deliberations, do steal a moment to indulge in the traditional richness and warmth of Chiang Mai.

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS (Citizen News Service)
13 May 2016