Letter From the Editor

Bruce D. Cheson, MD

Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology

July 2013, Volume 11, Issue 7


It was tough, but someone had to do it. I spent June 16–22 with 3,000 lymphoma scientists and clinicians at the 12th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML) in Lugano, Switzerland. I flew from Washington Dulles to Zurich and then hopped on a propeller plane—operated by the aptly named Darwin Airline—that soared over the mountains and swooped into the valley. For those of you who have never been to Lugano, it could make a lung cancer doc switch to treating large cell lymphoma. It is an incredibly scenic little town on magnificent Lake Lugano, in the Italian region of Switzerland. But we were there for the science, and it, too, was excellent.

We heard new insights into the biology and diversity of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma subtypes, which have important therapeutic implications. Several fascinating presentations explored the clonal events leading to the initiation of follicular lymphoma.There were sessions on treatment strategies for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and a wide variety of lymphomas, including extranodal, mantle cell, Hodgkin, central nervous system, follicular, and large cell; and those in specific patient populations, such as the elderly. A major focus of the clinical sessions was the role of (18F)fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in treatment decisions, novel monoclonal antibody-based therapies, and the new kinase inhibitors. Preclinical as well as clinical data described the potential for the lymphoma epigenome as a therapeutic target. I also had the opportunity to report on the deliberations of a workshop on proposed revisions to staging and response criteria for lymphoma.

A new session included presentations of ongoing clinical trials from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and France. Of particular interest were a number of controversies regarding such topics as the appropriate treatment for high-risk diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the role of radiation therapy in early stage Hodgkin lymphoma, and whether R-CHOP is the standard frontline therapy for follicular lymphoma; in fact, my sparring partner Dr. Gilles Salles and I debated the role of R-CHOP in maintenance of follicular lymphoma. The entire program and abstracts can be found at http://www.lymphcon.ch. Indeed, a report from the meeting will be published as a supplement in a future issue of Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology.

Franco Cavalli, Michele Ghielmini, and Emanuele Zucca must be commended for making the ICML the world’s leading lymphoma meeting, and this year it was extremely well organized, thanks to Cristiana Brentan. The ICML is now held every 2 years, with the next meeting being June 17–20, 2015. Registration is limited, and the meeting fills to capacity soon after registration opens. For both the science and the ambience, I highly recommend you put it on your calendar.


Bruce D. Cheson, MD