December 5 - 7, 2008
Hong Kong Academy of Medicine
Hong Kong SAR, China
This conference was presented by the Hong Kong Cancer Institute and the AACR in conjunction with the State Key Laboratory in Oncology in South China, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Anthony T. C. Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
Waun Ki Hong, UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Despite a considerable proportion of medical research devoted to understanding cancer and its causes, the role of chronic infections in carcinogenesis is frequently overlooked. According to WHO, up to 23 percent of malignancies in developing countries are caused by infectious agents. In developed countries, cancers caused by chronic infections amount to approximately 8 percent of all malignancies. An infective agent is linked to some of the most common cancers. Helicobacter pylori causes gastric cancer, the second most important cause of cancer death worldwide. Papillomavirus causes the vast majority of cervical cancer, the second most important cause of cancer among women. Liver cancer, caused by hepatitis viruses, ranks sixth in worldwide cancer incidence. Nasopharyngeal cancer, an Epstein-Barr virus associated cancer, is the most common head and neck cancer in Southern China.
Infection and cancer often provide unique models of pathogenesis in relation to diagnosis, therapy, screening and prevention. Vaccinations could be key to preventing some of these cancers that are associated with infection. HBV vaccination has already been shown to prevent liver cancer in high-incidence countries and it is likely that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination will become a reality in 3 to 5 years. The finding of elevated plasma EBV-DNA molecules in EBV associated malignancies has already offered unique opportunity for diagnosis, prognostication and therapeutic monitoring. The WHO World Cancer Report (2003) provides clear evidence that action on smoking, diet and infections can prevent one third of cancers, another third can be cured. The 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine recognized the work which showed H. pyloric infection as an important cause of peptic ulcer disease, including gastric malignancy.
This conference provided a unique opportunity to bring together international and regional basic scientists and clinical researchers to explore state-of-the-art approaches in the biology, therapeutics and prevention of four major cancers in the Asia-Pacific region that have an infective etiology. A wide range of professionals from academia, industry, government and regional patient and survivor advocacy community, who are committed to elevate the visibility of translational and clinical research into these important cancers with an infective etiology, participated in this conference.
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