The ECC meeting is mostly focused on clinical results and some translational medicine. Nevertheless a couple of interesting developmental topics were presented.
Identification of primary drivers in all cancer types is moving along and treatments that match these genotypes are available or in development. One of the next challenges is to increase the initial efficacy of these treatments and overcoming secondary resistance. Indeed, all cancers treated with targeted agents, despite impressive results, ultimately become resistant due to secondary resistance mechanisms. In addition there is also something as “innate” resistance: the primary treatments do not achieve a maximal pathway shutdown and therapeutic efficacy. This is in part due to the pharmacological limitations of small molecules and monoclonal antibodies in the inhibition of the pathways they target. Hitting the same target with specific siRNA’s is generally more effective in shutting down the activated pathway. In addition, this innate resistance is also due to functional responsiveness of the cells that results in the activation of alternative pathways that dampen the effect of the primary treatment. Identification of these functional resistance mechanisms is important, as they would be candidate co-targets for primary targeted therapies. Another major void in our cancer armamentarium is the therapeutic exploitation of recessive cancer genes and tumor suppressor genes.
(BELG J MED ONCOL 2015;9:260–62)