2011 ASCO Annual Meeting—The front line in the fight against cancer

Mar 25, 2011

April 2011: June 3-7, oncology professionals from across the globe will gather at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, to review the latest scientific data, examine new technologies, and connect (or re-connect) with colleagues. Registration, housing, and preliminary session information are available online at chicago2011.asco.org.


The theme of the 2011 Annual Meeting, chosen by ASCO President George W. Sledge, Jr., MD, is “Patients, Pathways, Progress.” Dr. Sledge described the theme as representing “patients first. Everything we do as a Society has, as its eventual goal, the reduction of cancer mortality and morbidity. We’re on the front line in the war against cancer.” The front line in the fight against cancer

“Pathways” refers to the molecular pathways that are becoming increasingly important in the targeted treatment of cancer, the clinical pathways that patients and their physicians follow during the course of therapy, and the research pathways through which new drugs are developed.

“Progress” celebrates the advances that have already been made in the treatment of cancer, but also notes “our future commitments to our patients through our continued passion for clinical cancer research, the increased understanding of cancer molecular biology that leads to research advances, and our strong belief that progress requires continued commitment from governments around the world to support cancer research in the lab and the clinic,” Dr. Sledge said.


Annual Meeting attendees will continue to find the sophisticated scientific presentations and comprehensive educational content that they expect from ASCO, and will also see some changes and expansions to the Meeting program.

“The scientific program highlights the latest advances in cancer biology, prevention, screening, treatment, and survivorship,” said Kathy D. Miller, MD, Chair of the Scientific Program Committee. “The Committee reviews thousands of abstracts to select those of greatest interest to the oncology community. They look for those abstracts that should immediately change practice and those early studies that offer a glimpse of future advances to come.”

Abstracts selected for presentation (with the exception of late-breaking, plenary, and clinical review abstracts) will be available online May 18, 2011, at 6:00 PM EST on ASCO.org.

Clinical Trials Day
To demonstrate an enduring commitment to the value and success of oncology clinical trials, Monday, June 6, will be Clinical Trials Day at the Annual Meeting. The series of events will begin on Sunday night with a session on “Early-phase Cancer Clinical Trials: Are the Goals Therapeutic or Scientific?” A selection of sessions focused on clinical trials will be offered on Monday, including:

  • The Art and Business of a Successful Early Clinical Trials Program: Academic, Private, and Industry Perspectives
  • Optimizing Data Collection for Clinical Trials to Support Clinically Relevant Decisions
  • Why Isn’t Cancer Research More Successful?
  • Developing and Implementing More Informative Phase II Oncology Clinical Trials

The second annual Trials in Progress Poster Session (featuring open, ongoing clinical trials) will also take place on Monday morning in the Oncology Professionals Hall.


The Annual Meeting offers a wide variety of educational opportunities for oncology professionals to learn about the latest strategies for prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, translational research, and current controversies in the field.

“The 2011 ASCO educational sessions are the perfect blend of practical information for the practicing oncologist intermixed with cutting-edge, upcoming drugs and therapeutic interventions that will move into the clinic in the next few years,” said Charles D. Blanke, MD, 2010-2011 Chair of the Cancer Education Committee.

2011 ASCO Educational Book
Approximately 70 manuscripts written by Education Session faculty will be available in the 2011 ASCO Educational Book, with select manuscripts appearing in the print edition and all manuscripts available online and on USB. Each manuscript undergoes a two-layer peer review process led by Editor-in-Chief Ramaswamy Govindan, MD, and new Associate Editor Natasha B. Leighl, MD.

Online manuscripts will be available on April 20, 2011, to ASCO members and pre-registered Meeting attendees. As in 2010, attendees also will have the option of taking a print book or a USB containing several publications, including the complete content of the 2011 ASCO Educational Book, when they arrive at the Meeting.

Joint sessions
Joint sessions are organized by Dr. Sledge and the presidents of oncologyfocused organizations around the world to present topics of interest across disciplines and specialties. Seven joint sessions featuring panel members from ASCO and sister societies will be offered in 2011:

  • ASCO/American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Joint Session: Telomeres and Telomerase in Cancer
  • ASCO/American Society of Hematology (ASH) Joint Session
  • ASCO/Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Joint Session: Designing Trials to Test Novel Treatment Strategies for “Go” or “No Go” Decisions
  • ASCO/European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Joint Session: Cancer in Low- and Middle-income Countries
  • ASCO/Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Joint Session: Breast Cancer Health Disparities: Challenges and Opportunities from an International Perspective
  • ASCO/Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Joint Session: Cancer Screening—Can We See Clearly Now?
  • ASCO/Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) Joint Session: Molecular Imaging in Cancer Clinical Trials

Ticketed sessions
Don’t forget to sign up for the popular Meet the Professor and Clinical Problems in Oncology ticketed sessions. This year, more Meet the Professor sessions will be offered to match the increasing demand.

Tickets can be purchased in three ways: during online registration, onsite at the Registration Desk in Hall C (North Building), or at the satellite ticketed sales desk by Room E451a/b beginning on Saturday. For more information, visit chicago2011.asco.org and select “Registration Details” and “Ticketed Sessions.” The program for nonticketed educational sessions is also available online.

eQuestions available
Educational sessions with “eQuestions” offer enhanced audience participation through the use of web and mobile technologies. At any time during the session, attendees can send questions to faculty by text (SMS), e-mail, or Twitter. Floor microphones will also be available. After a successful pilot program at the 2010 Annual Meeting, the number of sessions offering eQuestions has expanded. To find sessions offering this technology, look for the “eQuestions” designation following the session title in the Meeting Program.

NEW FOR 2011

As new technologies emerge, ASCO is constantly considering ways to improve the attendee experience at the Annual Meeting so that oncology professionals can spend more time on education and less on logistics.

When you arrive, be sure to pick up the new Friday “preview” edition of ASCO Daily News—the official newspaper distributed onsite and online at the ASCO Annual Meeting—to learn more about the Meeting and plan your Chicago visit. The paper will include a dining guide for restaurants in and around McCormick Place, plus expanded coverage of Chicago entertainment.

Mobile Meeting & easy-to-use apps
Mobile Meeting (previously known as “Podcast”) includes captured sessions from 2011 ASCO meetings. These can be accessed either by 1) podcast download or by 2) streaming video using the new iMeeting app available for iPhone or iPad. Mobile Meeting captured session content is available for purchase during registration, through the ASCO University Bookstore (university.asco.org/store), or onsite at the ASCO University Bookstore locations. The iMeeting app is free and can be downloaded by searching “ASCO” in the App Store or iTunes Store.

The iPlanner app is free and available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices. With this app, you can browse sessions in the Meeting program by date, time, speaker, and track, then add selected sessions to a personalized schedule with one touch. iPlanner syncs with the web-based ePlanner (accessible by computer), so you can make changes on either platform and know your schedule will be up to date. The app features an interactive map, allowing you to drop a pin on your session room or view an overall McCormick Place map. You can also browse the exhibitor list and locate a specific booth in the Oncology Professionals Hall. To download, search “ASCO” in the App Store, iTunes Store, or Google Marketplace.

For further information on all ASCO apps, see “ASCO Enters the App World.”

Rapid-charging stations & free WiFi
Since many attendees view Meeting resources on their smartphones, rapidcharging stations with universal chargers for portable devices are located throughout McCormick Place. A fiveminute charge will keep your phone going for the rest of the day. Free WiFi is available throughout the convention center, including all session rooms.

Interactive 3D touchscreen maps
Never get lost again while navigating McCormick Place—look for interactive touchscreen maps located in front of the Oncology Professionals Hall and throughout McCormick Place. Select a session or exhibitor on the touchscreen and a 3D map will show you exactly how to reach it. Digital signs located outside of each session room will list information about the presentations taking place in that space. Attendees who want to take in selected presentations from a large session can check the digital sign to see who is speaking at that very moment. Interactive maps of the Meeting are also available on the iPlanner app (see “Easy-to-use apps”).

New poster printing service & delivery
No more carrying a poster onto an airplane or worrying that it might get damaged before presentation—poster presenters can take advantage of a convenient new service for poster printing. At a cost comparable to national chain printing companies, a poster presenter can upload his or her poster online, choose a size and paper style, and have the poster printed and delivered to McCormick Place. Posters will be ready for pick-up in Room N231 (North Building, next to Registration). Prior to the Meeting, poster presenters will receive an e-mail with directions for using the online service, or presenters can visit Chicago2011.asco. org, select “Presenter and Faculty Resources” from left menu, then select “Poster Printing.”

Registration will be in a more centralized location this year, in Hall C (North Building).

Expanded dining options
Based on attendee feedback, healthier grab-and-go dining options, including more choices for vegetarians, will be offered in McCormick Place. Drip coffee is offered at all concession locations, which allows you to bypass the lines for specialty coffee drinks. A larger selection of dining options will be available in the Oncology Professionals Hall, as well as more food choices for less than $10.

Feedback and help
Attendees who wish to submit feedback about their surroundings—a room at an uncomfortable temperature, a spilled beverage, empty ASCO Daily News bins, etc.—during the Meeting are encouraged to send an e-mail to amhelp@asco.org so that the issue can be resolved as soon as possible.

ASCO Connectionat the ASCO Central Booth
ASCO Connection will be featured as part of the ASCO Central Booth in the Oncology Professionals Hall. Stop by to explore the magazine’s companion networking site for oncology professionals, ASCOconnection.org, and find out how you can use the platform to expand your contacts and promote your work and issues. While there, pick up our Special Edition magazine featuring the “best of” ASCO Connection interviews, features, and commentary. The first 500 visitors will also receive a free USB 4-port hub.


With its extensive program of scientific and educational sessions, award lectures and presentations, and exhibits and posters, the Annual Meeting can be daunting. Five members shared their tips for optimizing the Meeting experience.

ASCO President George W. Sledge, Jr., MD: “The best way to approach the Annual Meeting is to plan. You can go online to create your own Meeting agenda and view abstracts. It’s also important to decide how much of the Meeting you want to commit to the educational program versus the scientific program. Those are both valuable but they serve different purposes, and an individual has to decide on the appropriate balance.”

Immediate Past President Douglas W. Blayney, MD: “Use the Online Meeting Planner. The farther ahead you prepare and use the available planning resource tools, the more valuable your experience will be.”

Michael A. Carducci, MD: “When I work with fellows, I say, ‘Try to define what it is you want to get out of the Meeting. The expectation that you’re going to hear all the best presentations or the high-line data is difficult. The Plenary Session is important and the Highlights of the Day sessions are a good way to get those overviews. If you’re going to find out the newest data, stick with scientific sessions, and if you want to get a more global feel, go to some education sessions.’”

Cathy Eng, MD: “Focus on certain sessions or certain subtypes of cancer, look at the agenda beforehand, and then peruse the abstracts well before you get to the Meeting so that you can try to learn as much as possible regarding that subject matter. If you’re too broad or unfocused, you will not benefit from the Meeting as much.”

Michael Goldstein, MD: “The Meeting, especially for people attending it for the first time, can be overwhelming. Anyone coming for the first time should set themselves limited goals— look at the program and decide what’s most important to them, and be satisfied that they’re learning something about specific areas and not feel badly that they’re missing so much, as that can be a sense of frustration, especially among young oncologists who are in training and feel they have to learn the whole field.”

Dr. Carducci and Dr. Eng also shared their experiences as oral abstract presenters during the Annual Meeting. Dr. Goldstein also contributed to a discussion of physician burnout.

ASCO Enters the App World


Free; available in late April for iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry. Search “ASCO” in App Store or iTunes Store.


  • Browse sessions by date, time, speaker, and track
  • Add selected sessions to a personalized schedule
  • Syncs with the web-based ePlanner (accessible by computer), so your itinerary is always available
  • Locates your session room with an interactive map of McCormick Place
  • Browse exhibitor list and locate specific booths

Free to download app; provides access to captured Meeting sessions; content available Saturday, June 4. Content (known as Mobile Meeting) can be purchased during registration, online at the ASCO University Bookstore (university.asco.org/store), or onsite at ASCO University Bookstore locations. Available for iPhone and iPad. Search “ASCO” in App Store or iTunes Store.


  • View videos captured at 2011 ASCO meetings
  • Provides another format for accessing Meeting presentations where and when you want


Free; must sign in with ASCO.org username and password. Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Search “ASCO” in App Store or iTunes Store.


  • Search for ASCO members by name, institution, city, state/province, country, or specialty
  • Add contacts to your Favorites list or send a colleague’s public contact information to a patient by e-mail
  • Get directions to a contact’s address from your location, or view nearby colleagues on a list or map view
  • Read the ASCO Twitter feed



Free; available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. Search “Cancer.Net” in App Store or iTunes store.


  • Oncologist-approved mobile companion for patients
  • Comprehensive information on cancer types
  • Organizational tools for personal medical data

Conquer Cancer Foundation
Free; available for iPhone and iPad. Search “Conquer Cancer Foundation” in App Store or iTunes store.


  • Interactive content provides easy access to online resources & videos

Apps in the Works
Apps for the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Journal of Oncology Practice for iPhone and iPad are planned for release later this year. Mobile versions of JCO and JOP websites are available now and optimized for viewing on any mobile device.

2011 ASCO Special Award Recipients

The ASCO Special Awards recognize and encourage individuals who have made significant contributions to ASCO, the practice of clinical oncology, and patients with cancer.

The David A. Karnofsky Award and Lecture, named in honor of the outstanding clinical oncologist, is the oldest of the awards, first conferred in 1970. Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is this year’s recipient.

The B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership or contributed scientific work of major importance to the field of geriatric oncology. John M. Bennett, MD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, is this year’s recipient.

Lee J. Helman, MD, of the Center for Cancer Research, NCI, is the recipient of the Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture. This award recognizes an outstanding pediatric oncologist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievement in the field.

The Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture is given to an active clinical or translational researcher with a distinguished record of accomplishments in advancing the field of breast cancer. Luca Gianni, MD, of Fondazione IRCCS, Milan, Italy, is this year’s recipient. The Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture and the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Research Fellowship are supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKlineOncology.

Created in 2005, the Science of Oncology Award and Lecture honors an individual who has furthered the understanding of cancer through basic or translational research. Robert A. Weinberg, PhD, founding member of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, is this year’s recipient.

The ASCO–American Cancer Society Award and Lecture has existed since 1993; the award winner, selected by ASCO, is an oncologist who has exerted a significant effort on behalf of cancer prevention and control research or practice. ASCO Connection Editorial Board member Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD, of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, is this year’s recipient.

The Distinguished Achievement Award was established to recognize scientific accomplishments and mentorship that have benefited ASCO, as well as the broader oncology and patient communities. David Khayat, MD, PhD, of Salpêtrière Hospital, is this year’s recipient.

The Partners in Progress Award honors valuable contributions in cancer awareness and public advocacy. Benjamin O. Anderson, MD, Director of the Breast Health Clinic, University of Washington/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and creator of The Breast Health Global Initiative, is this year’s recipient.

The Public Service Award recognizes a person involved in legislative or political action, or community service activities that affect public awareness about cancer, its causes, cures, or treatment, or that result in additional legislative or financial support. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is this year’s recipient.

The Special Recognition Award honors an individual who has made major contributions in areas of clinical oncology, cancer research, clinical trials, reimbursement, patient advocacy activities, and long-term service to ASCO and to clinical oncology. Journal of Clinical Oncology Editor-in-Chief Daniel G. Haller, MD, of Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, is this year’s recipient.

New in 2011, the Humanitarian Award recognizes an oncologist who personifies ASCO’s mission by going beyond the call of duty in providing outstanding patient care through innovative means or exceptional service or leadership. This year’s recipient will be announced at the Annual Meeting.

View the 2011 ASCO Statesman Award recipients


Annual Meeting—A Whirlwind Experience for the ASCO President

Attending the Meeting as ASCO President is an experience unlike any other. President George W. Sledge, Jr., MD, and Immediate Past President Douglas W. Blayney, MD, share their Annual Meeting stories below.

Dr. Sledge—2010-2011 President
As ASCO President, I am involved in a number of events including, of course, the Presidential Address and the presentation of major awards. I also spend a significant amount of time in meetings with other professional organizations and an enormous amount of time in media interviews. Last year, when I was President-Elect, there was one morning when I was interviewed by seven local television stations back-to-back in a two-hour period.

When I’m not busy with Presidential duties, I love to attend sessions and hear the cutting-edge science. One of the most pleasurable things at the Meeting, for me, has been going to the poster sessions. A lot of the research that’s going to be important in a few years starts out as a phase I/II trial or translational work being presented at the poster session. I love the ability to talk to the investigator and get a good one-on-one sense of their research.

Of course, the genuinely fun thing about the Annual Meeting is the opportunity to see old friends. When the story of cancer is finally read, it will probably be discovered that cancer was cured as much around water fountains and in hallways as it was cured in the lab or in a clinical trial. One of the major purposes our Society serves through the Annual Meeting is to bring smart people together to bounce ideas around. The synergy that comes out of interactions at the Annual Meeting reverberates for years.

Dr. Blayney—2009-2010 President
As President, I enjoyed the opportunity to Co-Chair the joint symposia that we have with our sister societies—to hear the best of the American Society of Hematology abstracts, the best of the European meetings and AACR symposium, and the common areas of interest to the diagnostic radiologists and medical oncologists from the American College of Radiology. Attending those meetings is a great opportunity for practicing medical oncologists to ask questions of the thought-leaders in those fields.

The President also represents the Society and its members at a number of social events, including those honoring ASCO Special Award recipients and distinguished committee leaders. The Conquer Cancer Foundation (formerly The ASCO Cancer Foundation®) also holds receptions honoring our major donors and the recipients of Foundation grants and awards.

Outside of my role as President, I enjoy the Plenary Session. A lot of work goes into choosing the abstracts presented there, and a lot of work goes into preparing the abstracts—they are the best-of-the-best science at the Meeting. I also enjoy the opportunity to renew friendships, make new friends, and establish collaborations.

At the Meeting, I’m reminded again and again of how great our volunteers are in that we are able to come together to think about the best ways to care for our patients, practice science, and advocate for making progress against this disease.


Plan Your Chicago

Visit When your professional activities are finished, take advantage of the world-class dining and entertainment that Chicago has to offer. Visit chicago2011.asco.org and select “Attendee Information” then “Travel, Tour, and Shuttle Information” to find resources for booking your flight, rental car, or tickets to area attractions.

During the Meeting, a Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau representative will be on hand at Concierge Services (Grand Concourse Lobby) to assist attendees with restaurant reservations and Chicago area information.

Member recommendations:

  • While in town, ASCO President George W. Sledge, Jr., MD, recommends Chicago-style pizza at Gino’s East (ginoseast.com), Giordano’s (giordanos.com), or Uno Chicago Grill (unos.com)—he refuses to single out one establishment as a favorite. He also recommends exploring a working WWII submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry (msichicago.org).
  • Immediate Past President Douglas W. Blayney, MD, enjoys the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center (signatureroom.com), where you can “watch the clouds roll in over Lake Michigan,” he noted. He also explained that Chicago is a great city for walking, whether along the lakefront or up through the shopping district on Michigan Avenue. “The Art Institute of Chicago is a great place for short bites or a long afternoon; the café is a great place for a break,” he said.
  • Cathy Eng, MD, of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, calls Chicago one of her favorite cities, citing the various museums and numerous restaurants. “During the summer, you can take an architectural tour by boat on Lake Michigan, and all of downtown Chicago is just lovely,” she said. She also encouraged attendees to take time for a Chicago Cubs baseball game at historic Wrigley Field.

To share your tips on visiting Chicago, select “Forums,” “Education and Meeting News,” then “Share your Annual Meeting tips”; or start your own thread.

—by Virginia Anderson,Senior Writer/Editor

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