Showcasing Our Latest Oncology Advances to Improve Patient Outcomes at ESMO 2018


Dave Fredrickson, Executive Vice-President, Global Head Oncology Business Unit

At ESMO 2018 Congress (European Society for Medical Oncology), AstraZeneca is sharing the latest advances from our Oncology portfolio across 54 abstracts, including 8 oral presentations and 4 late breakers.1

The data we are presenting at ESMO support our key strategies that we believe will deliver transformative outcomes for all patients with cancer:

Treating in earlier-stages of disease and in earlier lines of therapy to improve outcomes for patients

We’re aiming to bring our established medicines earlier in the treatment paradigm, where there is an opportunity to deliver long-term remissions.

Take ovarian and lung cancers: the symptoms of these two devastating diseases can be hard to distinguish and are often overlooked.2,3 By the time ovarian or lung cancer patients are diagnosed, the majority will have already progressed to an advanced stage, meaning their disease will have spread to other parts of the body. 

Late diagnosis can limit treatment options and often results in a poor prognosis. For the approximately 60% of ovarian cancer patients diagnosed at an advanced stage, five-year survival remains at only 17%.4,5 In lung cancer, only 15% of patients are diagnosed when the cancer is still localised in the lung.6 Once the tumour has spread to other parts of the body, the chances of a patient still being alive five years after diagnosis are less than 10%.7

Reducing the risks associated with relapse in ovarian cancer

Avoiding relapse for as long as possible is critical as once a patient relapses, their disease gets more difficult to treat and their prognosis becomes less favourable.8 Unfortunately, patients don’t often have long-term remissions following standard treatments for advanced disease. For example, approximately 70% of ovarian cancer patients experience disease recurrence within three years of initial treatment.9

Once the cancer has become platinum resistant or refractory, the aim of treatment is to prolong disease control and improve or maintain quality of life.9

Most patients will go on to receive multiple lines of treatment – with the time between each relapse and subsequent treatment ultimately becoming shorter and shorter.10

New approaches are needed to extend the time between each relapse, and because we know that how a patient responds to their initial 1st-line treatment can impact their entire treatment continuum – it is critical we extend the disease-free time as long as possible, as early as possible.

Staying a step ahead of the disease

Even with the latest therapies, most patients unfortunately develop resistance to treatment – a phenomenon we refer to as “acquired resistance.”11

How resistance emerges in a tumour remains unclear. However, we’re following the science to ensure our therapies provide the most durable responses and our treatment strategies can evolve as the disease does, to ensure care at every stage. For more about how we’re addressing mechanisms of resistance in lung cancer, my colleague Dr. Yuri Rukazenkov has written a fascinating blog here.

Ovarian and lung cancers are two of the many difficult-to-treat cancers we have prioritised over the years, in an effort to help improve the lives of thousands of patients. We are making a positive difference, but our work is far from finished. Each congress and every piece of data represents the potential to make a meaningful difference for patients and brings us one step closer to our goal of eliminating cancer as a cause of death. The opportunity to come together with our peers and share pioneering ideas to help advance the industry and improve patient outcomes is invaluable, and we look forward to being part of making change this weekend.


1. AstraZeneca PLC. AstraZeneca Presents Advances in Improving Treatment Options for Ovarian and Lung Cancer Patients at ESMO 2018 Congress. Press release published 9 October 2018. Available at Accessed October 2018.

2. Birring SS & Peake MD. Symptoms and the Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer. Thorax. 2005;60(4):268-269.

3. Bankhead CR, et al. Identifying Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer: a Qualitative and Quantitative Study. BJOG. 2008 Jul;115(8):1008-14.

4. Cancer Research UK. Ovarian Cancer Statistics. Available at Accessed October 2018.

5. American Cancer Society. Survival Rates for Ovarian Cancer, by Stage. Available at Accessed October 2018.

6. Ridge C, et al. Epidemiology of Lung Cancer. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2013;30:93-98.

7. Goldstraw et al. The IASLC Lung Cancer Staging Project: Proposals for Revision of the TNM Stage Groupings in the Forthcoming (Eighth) Edition of the TNM Classification for Lung Cancer. J Thorac Oncol. 2016; 11(1):39–51. 

8, Luvero D, et al. Treatment Options in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer: Latest Evidence and Clinical Potential.

Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology. 2014. 6(5) 229–239.

9. Ledermann JA, et al. Newly Diagnosed and Relapsed Epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2013;24(6): vi24-vi32.

10. Hanker LC, et al. The Impact of Second to Sixth Line Therapy on Survival of Relapsed Ovarian Cancer After Primary Taxane/Platinum-based Therapy. Annals of Oncology. 2012;23:2605-2612.

11. Neel DS & Bivona TG. Resistance is Futile: Overcoming Resistance to Targeted Therapies in Lung Adenocarcinoma. npj Precision Oncology. 2017:1;3.


Veeva ID: Z4-13410

Date of preparation: October 2018

Date of expiry: October 2019