What to expect at the 2018 AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting

The Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) is the only research organisation in the Australasian region with a focus on gastro-intestinal cancers.

The AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting is widely known throughout Australasia as the premier meeting in the gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer space. The three day meeting provides GI cancer clinicians, researchers and allied health specialists with the opportunity to present their research and discuss current challenges and innovations, as well as to hear from international and local leaders on the latest in GI cancer research and treatments. The exchange of knowledge and expertise is strongly encouraged in our friendly and collegiate meeting environment.

Our meetings also provide an opportunity for involvement of health professionals in the scientific activities of the AGITG and encourage subsequent ongoing participation in the Group’s activities.

2018 Invited Faculty

The Meeting Executive Organising Committee has secured a stellar line up of invited faculty:

  • Prof Sabine Tejpar, Medical Oncologist, University Hospital Leuven, Belgium
  • Prof Brendan Moran, Colorectal Surgeon, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, UK
  • Prof Daniel Chang, Radiation Oncologist, Stanford University, USA
  • Prof Aldo Scarpa, Pathologist, University of Verona, Italy
  • Prof Diana Sarfati, Epidemiologist, University of Otago, NZ
  • Prof Jae-Ho Cheong, Surgeon-Scientist, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea
  • Prof Graeme Young, Gastroenterologist, Flinders University, SA
  • Dr Dan Renouf, Medical Oncologist, University of British Columbia, Canada

Visit the Invited Faculty web page for bio sketches.

2018 Program Highlights

Wednesday 31 October

Keynote Breakfast Session
Taking sides in metastatic colorectal cancer: predictive and prognostic factors in selecting therapyProfessor Sabine Tejpar

Combined Surgical-Radiation Oncology Breakfast
State of the Art Therapies for Rectal Cancer

Optimal surgical management of rectal cancer – Professor Brendan Moran

Optimal radiotherapy techniques in rectal cancer – Professor Daniel Chang

Opening Plenary
Feast or famine: too much or not enough in colorectal cancer

Past, present and future in primary and secondary detection of CRC – Professor Graeme Young

Rectal cancer: are we under using or over using surgery? – Professor Brendan Moran

Rectal cancer: are we under using or over using radiation therapy? – Professor Daniel Chang

Rectal cancer: are we under using or over using chemotherapy? – Professor Eva Segelov


AGITG Early Colorectal Cancer Research

A La CaRT – Associate Professor Andrew Stevenson

SPAR – Associate Professor Michael Jameson

DYNAMIC-Rectal & DYNAMIC-III – Associate Professor Jeanne Tie

ASCOLT & ASCOLT Translational – Dr Mark Jeffery

RENO – Professor Chris Karapetis


AGITG Advanced Colorectal Cancer Research

MODULATE – Associate Professor Niall Tebbutt

LIBERATE – Associate Professor Niall Tebbutt

MONARCC – Dr Matthew Burge

InterAACT & InterAACT2 – Dr Amitesh Roy


AGITG Advanced Colorectal Cancer Trials Portfolio – How does this fit in to the International Context? – Professor Sabine Tejpar

This presentation will put the AGITG Advanced CRC trials portfolio in the context of what is being done similarly or differently on the International scene.


Incorporating Comorbidity in Clinical Trials: damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Professor Diana Sarfati

This talk will give an overview of the importance of comorbidity on the outcomes for people with cancer, the benefits and challenges of incorporating comorbidity assessments into clinical trials, and the dangers that await if we do not carefully consider comorbidity in trial design.


Radiation Oncology Workshop

SBRT for Pancreas Cancer

International Faculty – Professor Daniel Cheng

National Expert Panel – Dr Hien Le, Dr Andrew Oar & Dr David Pryor

A practical discussion on selection and technique for delivering SBRT for pancreas cancer including discussion of proposed AGITG pancreas SBRT guidelines.


CRC Multidisciplinary Workshop

International Faculty – Professor Brendan Moran, Professor Daniel Chang, Professor Sabine Tejpar

National Faculty – Dr Craig Underhill, Professor Andrew Kneebone, Surgeon Dr Iain Thomson, Professor Graeme Young

MDM showcasing clinical scenarios in controversial areas of diagnosis and management, such as total neoadjuvant therapy for colon and rectal cancers. Featuring an expert panel with audience interaction.


Trainees Workshop

A career in oncology is highly rewarding and increasingly popular. An increasing number of trainees and a competitive job market means that now, more than ever, trainees need to be thoughtful and strategic about planning their training with an eye to the job market. This workshop presents a unique opportunity to meet with senior and successful medical, surgical and radiation oncologists who have followed varied paths to their current position. This workshop will explore the many different opportunities available to trainees, and how to navigate training, research, service, teaching, fellowships, and how to flourish as a clinician, researcher, leader, teacher, or all four in Australia and New Zealand.


Welcome Reception

Relax after Day One, catch up with colleagues and enjoy the delicious food and drinks on offer.


Thursday 1 November

Keynote Breakfast Session

What light through yonder window breaks; the dawn of routine molecular pathology

Professor Aldo Scarpa

Professor Scarpa will discuss molecular and morphologic aspects of modern pancreas cancer pathology, and the opportunities and limitations of genomically driven cancer care, functioning of tumour boards, serial tumour biopsies and the implications of tumour heterogeneity.


Translational Science Symposium  

Lost in Translation? – Evolving insights into Molecular and Immunological Targets in GI Cancers

This years’ Translational Science Symposium brings together a group of leading Australian translational researchers with some of our international faculty, to focus on reaping the benefits clinically from the major advances in understanding molecular and immunological targets in GI cancers. The session will comprise a mix of longer thematic presentations, short talks and a panel discussion; and has particular relevance given the challenges we clearly are having to face in bench-bedside translation in GI cancers compared to other cancer types, especially in relation to immunotherapy.


What can the clinician learn from recent advances in molecular classification of CRC?

Professor Sabine Tejpar

Immunological approaches to targeting “cold” tumours

Dr Michele Teng

Molecular and Immunological targets in G/O cancers

Professor Jae-Ho Cheong


Translational Science Symposium

Best of Australian Translational Science in GI Cancers

Seven experts each present a topic of their choice and each with time for Q&A:

  • Professor Robert Ramsay
  • Associate Professor Oliver Sieber
  • Dr Vicki Whitehall
  • Associate Professor Michael Samuels
  • Dr Tracy Putoczki
  • Professor Alex Boussioutas
  • Dr Danielle Ferraro


Radiation Oncology Contouring Workshop
SBRT for Liver Cancer

International Faculty – Professor Daniel Cheng

National Faculty – Dr Dominique Lee, Dr Julie Chu & Dr David Pryor


New Concepts Symposium

The New Concepts Symposium sponsored by Specialised Therapeutics is designed as a novel way to reach out to a wider spectrum of the group. This session provides an opportunity for delegates to present embryonic new concepts for feedback and discussion with the audience as well as comments from international Invited Faculty in terms of perspective, international interest and relevance.

A good idea can be tested and a perception gained on whether to take the concept forward to a more formal review by the AGITG Upper or Lower GI Working Party. The identification of other AGITG members who may wish to assist in progressing the concept as an AGITG supported protocol is also possible.

The winner of the Best New Concept Award will receive a $3,500 prize and a framed certificate. The runner up will receive a $1,500 prize and framed certificate. The Awards, sponsored by Specialised Therapeutics, are presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting Dinner and details of the Award recipients are published on the AGITG website and in the Annual Report.

Following a competitive process, four concepts were chosen for presentation:

  1. A phase 2 study of regorafenib combined with Aspirin in RAS mutated advanced Colorectal Cancer

Presenter – Dr Rahul Ladwa

Invited Faculty Reviewer – Prof Sabine Tejpar

  1. A pilot feasibility and discovery study of neoadjuvant FOLFIRINOX followed by immunotherapy for resectable adenocarcinoma of the pancreas

Presenter – Dr Lorraine Chantrill

Invited Faculty Reviewer – Dr Daniel Renouf

  1. Phase 2 trial of Metformin in Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma

Presenter – Dr Monica Tang

Invited Faculty Reviewer – Prof Jae-Ho Cheong

  1. Using the CancerAid® mobile app to collect toxicity and quality of life data to improve the efficiency of trial data collection

Presenter – Dr Wee Loon Ong

Invited Faculty Reviewer – Prof Diana Sarfati


Best of Posters / Fast Forward

The AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting accepts abstracts for posters for selection by the Executive Organising Committee.  Posters are displayed in the exhibition area.  Four posters are chosen for presentation in the Best of the Best Session. Each presenter has seven minutes to present with three minutes for questions.

Four posters are also chosen for Fast Forward presentation. Each presenter has three minutes to present with two minutes for questions.

The AGITG recognises excellence in the Posters and Fast Forward Sessions at each annual meeting. The winning presenter in the Posters Session receives a $3,500 prize and framed certificate. The winning presenter in the Fast Forward session receives $1,500 and a framed certificate. The Awards, sponsored by Clinical Genomics, are presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting Dinner and details of the Award recipients are published on the AGITG website and in the Annual Report.


Best of the Best Posters

  1. Patients’ preferences for surgery versus a ‘watch and wait’ approach after neoadjuvant long course chemoradiation for locally advanced rectal cancer: What is avoiding surgery worth?
    Presenter – A/Prof Sue-Anne McLachlan
  2. Improving molecular screening of pancreatic cancer using frozen EUS-FNA biopsies
    Presenter – Dr Joanna Lundy
  3. A large multicentre study of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in young Australians under the age of 50
    Presenter – Dr Azim Jalali
  4. Pancreatic Cancer: An analysis of ‘Real-World’ stent-related morbidity in the palliative setting
    Presenter – Dr Belinda Lee


Fast Forward

  1. Biomarker testing and biomarker-directed treatment utilisation for metastatic colorectal cancer in Australian practice
    Presenter – Dr Hui-Li Wong
  2. Uptake of first-line triplet chemotherapy and epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors (EGFRi) in metastatic colorectal cancer
    Presenter – Dr Hui-Li Wong
  3. Neuroendocrine neoplasms in the paediatric, adolescent and young adult population in Queensland, Australia
    Presenter – Dr David Wyld
  4. Retrospective study in operable and potentially operable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) utilising structured protocol based multidisciplinary care, evaluating the role of FDG PET scanning and neoadjuvant therapy
    Presenter – Dr Malinda Itchins


Joint Consumer/Study Coordinator Forum

In this year’s Joint Consumer/ Study Coordinators session, the presenters have updates on current GI cancer research. These include immunology, where are we for GI cancers, and the challenges and learnings from rare cancers. Additionally, the opportunities with tele trials and an update on health economics. Building on last year’s talk of a Study Coordinators day, we have a behind the scenes snapshot from a Trials Manager.  Finally, financial toxicity is another stress for patients, out of pocket expenses may influence treatment decisions.

  • Hot Issues: Liquid Biopsies – Associate Professor Jeanne Tie
  • Rare Cancers – Professor David Goldstein
  • Tele Trials – Ms Chris Aiken & Ms Kerry Lenton
  • Financial Toxicity – Ms Jan Mumford & Ms Simone Leyden
  • A day in the life of a Trials Manager – Mr Martijn Oostendorp
  • Health Economics – Dr Hannah Carter


Keynote Breakfast Session 

Science Meets Reality

Real world patients we see every day are not reflective of those recruited to randomised studies, so trial results may not apply to the patients we see every day. Also, there is variation in practice around the world which may be in part due to differences in cancer risk factors, genetic predisposition, histological sub-types, as well as referral and reimbursement patterns. What can we learn from real-world variations in care? Are outcome and practice differences due to genuine differences in cancers and risk factors, or is it doctor-driven? What can we learn from routinely collected datasets, and how should we interpret or ignore clinical trial evidence in a real world context?


“RCT’s and other Fake News: statistical fallacies and the new world order of big data”

Professor Diana Sarfati

This presentation will examine some of the differences between clinical and statistical significance, the limits and benefits of routine and administrative data sets, commonly held statistical mistruths, and the value of non-randomised trial data when determining causality.

“East v West: are all OG cancers the same?”

– Professor Jae-Ho Cheong

Clinical practice in the management of oesophagogastric cancer varies between East and West. This lecture will review the epidemiological, genomic, and clinical differences in OG cancer, asking what we can learn from around the world, challenging our own paradigms and practices.

“Microbiome & Mapping: are we what we eat?”

Professor Sabine Tejpar

Humans are host to a vast and diverse microbial climate that has until recently been overlooked. Increasingly, investigators are beginning to identify microbes, or groups of microbiota, that are important in pathogenesis of disease, as well as susceptibility to immunotherapy. This talk explores the relationship between the microbiome and GI cancer risk, treatment and outcome, and the role of food on the microbiome.


AGITG UGI, HPB, GIST & NET Cancer Trials

INTEGRATE II – Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis

DOCTOR & DOCTOR Translational – Professor Andrew Barbour

GAP – Professor David Goldstein

ACTICCA-1 – Dr Jenny Shannon

CONTROL NETS – Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis

NABNEC – Associate Professor Mustafa Khasraw

TOPGEAR – Professor Trevor Leong

INTEGRATE II – Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis


AGITG UGI, HPB, GIST & NET Cancer Research Portfolio – How does this fit in to the International Context?

Professor Jae-Ho Cheong: Surgical trials

Dr Daniel Renouf: Local therapy trials


International Expert Panel: Pancreas Cancer

After many decades of negative studies or minor incremental improvement in standards for pancreas cancer, there has been a sudden acceleration in positive clinical trial data in the neo-adjuvant, adjuvant, and metastatic setting. In this session, our domestic and international experts will address new clinical trial data, treatment strategies, patient selection, and explore the potential for integration of genomics and immunotherapy into research trials and clinical practice.


Integrating genomic profiling into pancreas cancer management

Professor Aldo Scarpa

Adjuvant therapy: is there a new standard of care?

Dr Lorraine Chantrill

Total neo-adjuvant therapy: ready for prime time?

Professor Andrew Barbour: Surgical perspective

Professor Daniel Chang: Radiation perspective

Professor David Goldstein: Medical Oncology perspective

MASTERPLAN: Mfolfirinox And STEreotactic Radiotherapy [SBRT] for Pancreatic cancer with high risk and Locally AdvaNced disease

Dr Andrew Oar

Is there a future for immunotherapy in pancreas cancer?

Dr Dan Renouf