The 25th AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting was held for the first time in Aotearoa New Zealand and attended by over 350 delegates from oncological practice, community and industry.

Held in Ōtautahi/Christchurch on 13–16 November 2023, this year’s ASM focused on the theme ‘Navigating Pathways to Equity in GI Cancer Research’, intended to address the pressing need to extend access and increase equity to therapeutic options across regional, rural and remote areas, as well as culturally diverse and First Nations populations.

Read on for our overview of the 2023 Meeting – or listen to The Oncology Podcast‘s wrap-up episode, featuring Co-Convenor Dr Ben Lawrence and International Invited Faculty A/Prof Katherine Garman.

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#AGITG23: Day Four

Thursday, 16 November 2023

Keynote breakfast

The last day of the ASM began with breakfast over keynote talks by Prof Leonard Saltz on counting the lost value and the costs of inequity in clinical care and research, and by Prof Chris Jackson on living fairness, equity and access in cancer.

Early rectal cancer

Trials showcased: SPAR, RENO

Abstract presented: Investigation peripheral CD8+ T cell tolerance in colorectal cancer – Avraham Travers

The first session focussed on the evolving and multidisciplinary management of rectal cancer. A/Prof Jason Gurney presented on GI cancer outcomes for Māori and the centralisation problem, followed by Prof Andrew Kneebone’s radiation oncology keynote titled The Evolving Role of Radiation for Rectal Cancer. The talks were rounded out by an MDT and then an MDT debate between a surgical perspective and a medical oncology perspective.

Early colon cancer

Trials showcased: RoLaCaRT-1, DYNAMIC-III, NEO-POLEM, ASCOLT
with review by A/Prof Jonathan Loree

After morning tea, delegates entered a session spotlighting early colon cancer. Melanie Poxton presented Taking the Trial to the Patient: Designing a Decentralised Trial or Translational Project, followed by a surgery keynote address by Prof Andrew Hill titled Principles of Equitable Trial Design from Studying Peri-Operative Care.

Best of Posters and Best New Concept

The Best of Posters Award was presented to Dr Avraham Travers, with Dr Natalia Vukelic named as runner-up. Thank you to Amgen for sponsoring the Best of Posters in 2023.

The Best New Concept, sponsored by AstraZeneca, was awarded to Dr Alex Flynn for her concept, a randomised phase III trial of personalised vs standard dosing of 5-fluorouracil in first line chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. A/Prof Andrew Dean and Prof Tim Price were jointly awarded the runner-up title.

See all award winners.

The final poster viewing and discussion walk was led by Prof Rob Ramsay.

Closing Plenary: Te Wero (The Challenge) – Solutions to drive equitable outcomes

In the Closing Plenary, attendees and the AGITG were encouraged to reflect on the conference proceedings. A series of talks and subsequent panel discussion by Prof George Laking, Claire Howlett, Dr Kimi Hēnare, Prof Cheri Ostroff and A/Prof Craig Underhill provided a rounded perspective of what equity-focussed cancer care could look like, as well as issued challenges for the AGITG to meet in coming years.

Prof Lorraine Chantrill then addressed the room as Chair of the AGITG, announcing our statement of intention of equity, diversity and inclusion, and accepted the challenges brought by each speaker.

The 25th Annual Scientific Meeting closed with Co-Convenor Dr Ben Lawrence handing over the reins to the Dr Sina Vatandoust, who will be Co-Convenor for the next Meeting, followed by a karakia by Dr Hēnare.

Thank you to all speakers, sponsors and delegates for contributing to a very successful first ASM in Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope to see you next year in Brisbane.


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