Minutes of the international meeting organized by the AFRCP
(Prof. Sandrine Dabernat, president of the organizing comity)
The French Association for Research on Pancreatic Cancer organizes an international symposium every 4 years to gather international and national experts. The "International Pancreatic Cancer Symposia" provide a regular assessment of contributory advances and reasonable hopes in the understanding and management of this disease with a poor prognosis. The last decade has seen major OMICs analysis programs and has set the contribution of multidisciplinary approaches to a better understanding of the disease. The "International Pancreatic Cancer Symposium 2023," the third edition held in Bordeaux from October 16th to 18th, focused on current and promising themes in the field. It brought together 115 participants (84 French, 31 international).
Session I, with a clinical orientation, offered conferences by clinician-researchers on the latest therapeutic innovations for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) management. Updates on the potential contribution of recent molecular advances such as tumor subtyping, increased knowledge of metabolic dependencies, and the role of the microbiota were presented by Prof. Pascal Hammel (Paris, France). The latest immunotherapies improvement, new therapeutic solutions like vaccination (gene therapy), and systemic factor involvement such as physical activity were also shared. An exhaustive review by Prof. Isabelle Baldi (Bordeaux, France) covered the epidemiological aspects of pancreatic cancer, asking the best prevention solutions. It was noted that Europe accounts for 29% of global PDAC cases, with France recording approximately 14,000 new cases per year (male/female ratio of 1.5). Only a few actionable factors have been identified, with "usual suspects" like tobacco, obesity, and to a lesser extent (12% of cases), occupational exposures. The exposome is poorly studied in pancreatic cancer and deserves increased interest. Prof. Francis Levi (Paris, France) selected talk proposed an innovative personalized recording of circadian functions in the early detection of chemotherapy-induced toxicity. For the first time, a patient, Mrs. Isabelle Chabrier from the patient association Espoir Pancréas (https://www.espoir-pancreas.fr/ ), shared her care journey and testified to her vision of what patients' expectations could be regarding research, especially basic research. This sub-session, took the form of a round table, moderated notably by Dr. Thibaud Haaser, a clinician-researcher-ethicist whose particularly interest is the benefits of patient involvement in therapeutic decisions. This sub-session received great interest from all present researchers and sparked rich discussions. Finally, advancements and promises of new radiotherapy protocols in PDAC management were evaluated (by Prof. Mauro Loi, Florence, Italy, plenary lecture, and Dr. Virginia Cirolla, Rome, Italy, selected abstract).
Session II was centered on the identification and targeting of new tumor vulnerabilities. Prof. Cindy Neuzillet (Paris, France) presented the microbiota as an active new player in pancreatic tumorigenesis, while highlighting ongoing debates and controversies on these recent discoveries, along with potential therapeutic innovations associated with antibiotic therapy. Dr. Pierre Cordelier (Toulouse, France) shared the latest advancements in the mechanisms of action and potential improvements of oncolytic virotherapies. This session was enriched by 6 selected presentations: Dr. Patricia Santofimia Castano (Marseille, France) proposing a new form of synthetic lethality linked to KRASG12D, Dr. Majid Khatib (Bordeaux, France) positioning convertase inhibitors as a new therapeutic strategy, Margaux Vienne (PhD student, Toulouse, France) showing that the protoparvovirus H-1 (H-1PV) can reshape the immune landscape of pancreatic tumors, Prof. Ilaria Cascone (Paris, France) proposing immune sensitization of PDAC by blocking TNFR2, and finally, Dr. Isabelle Van Seuningen (Lille, France) developing multi-targeted antitumor peptides.
Session III explored the microenvironments of primary and secondary tumor sites. Dr. Corinne Bousquet (Toulouse, France) highlighted the great heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment as well as the complexity of its cellular compartment and showed the latest advancements in understanding these aspects of pancreatic tumors. Prof. Axel Behrens (London, UK), whose multidisciplinary approaches contribute to an in-depth understanding of cancer stem cells, presented the latest knowledge on spatial tumor heterogeneity. Prof. Michael Schmid (Liverpool, UK) revealed how certain subpopulations of macrophages control the immune response of hepatic pancreatic metastases and how they can be targeted. This session also allowed selected speakers to present their latest advancements: Dr. Stephanie Dougan (Boston, USA) proposed avenues of immune sensitization by blocking TNFalpha, Kevin Thierry (PhD student, Lyon, France) showed how a subpopulation of macrophages could be immunosuppressive, Dr. Christelle Bouchart (Brussels, Belgium) presented a new modality of radiotherapy (isotoxic high-dose stereotactic body radiotherapy, iHD-SBRT) to target and better control the tumor microenvironment, Jacobo Solorzano (PhD student, Toulouse, France) demonstrated the importance of a coupled transcriptome/translatome analysis for revealing new aspects of the tumor microenvironment, Dr. Charline Ogier (Toulouse, France) shared her latest advancements on the contribution of trogocytosis to oncogenic promotion, and finally, Dr. Karen Pickering (Glasgow, UK) showed how the APOBEC3B gene encoding a cytidine deaminase promotes tumorigenesis by significantly impacting the tumor microenvironment.
Session IV focused on new technologies applied to pancreatic cancer research. Dr. Christine Chio (New York, USA) showed how multi-OMIC approaches in proteomics and chemistry shed new light on the oxidative stress induced by KRAS mutations. Then, Dr. William Wang (Boston, USA) showed how spatial OMICs reveal the fine interactions between the stroma and the tumor. Selected speakers shared their ongoing research: Dr. Ashwin Kumar Jainarayanan (Oxford, UK) studied, through single-cell analysis, the prognostic clonal distribution of immune cells, Dr. Nicolas Fraunhoffer (Marseille, France) delved into predictive transcriptomics of FOLFIRINOX response, Dr. Julie Navez (Brussels, Belgium) developed radiological approaches to understand a new concept of stromal vessel infiltration (mesopancreas). A round table on organoids and other models suitable for pancreatic cancer research, co-hosted by Dr. Nathalie Vergnolle (Toulouse, France), Dr. Audrey Vincent (Lille, France), Dr. Laurent Gros (Montpellier, France), and Dr. Nicolas Fraunhoffer (Marseille, France), all developing complex PDAC models, allowed for discussions on their advantages and limitations. Applicative examples from abstracts were presented: Thomas Bessede (PhD student, Montpellier, France) developing a 3D model with an immunocompetent microenvironment, Dr. Flora Clément (Grenoble, France) with a microfluidic organ-on-a-chip system modeling the amphicrine function of the pancreas, and finally, Dr. Nada Kalaany (Boston, USA) sharing her advancements in understanding PDAC dependence on ornithine.
The final Session V focused on early stages and disease prevention. Prof. Michael Goggins (Baltimore, USA) shared current knowledge on early PDAC detection, especially genetic susceptibilities. Prof. Pascal Hammel (Paris, France) provided an overview of the management of early and precancerous lesions, and Dr. Nuria Malats (Madrid, Spain) presented the current data known to optimize pancreatic cancer prevention. Then, selected presentations supplemented the session: Claire Lac (PhD, Toulouse, France) shared her project evaluating the impact of mechanical constraints on oncogenesis, a topic also developed by Mickael Di-Luoffo (PhD student, Toulouse, France), and Dr. Zhichong Wu (Shanghai, China) dissected and studied tumor/healthy tissue junctions, Prof. Jérôme Cros (Paris, France) showed the role of fatty acids in pancreatic oncogenesis, and finally, Dr. Hala Shaloub (Toulouse, France) shared data on the impact of inflammation on precancerous processes.
The organizing committee and the AFRCP bureau warmly thank all the participants who contributed to a scientifically high-quality meeting, both through presentations and associated exchanges. We also thank the Espoir Pancréas association and especially Isabelle Chabrier for initiating a researcher-patient collaboration at this conference.
At the end of the meeting, 3 awards were granted:
Best poster: Aurélien Mazet (PhD student, Bordeaux, France) who develops a bioprinted PDAC model.
Best oral communication by a junior scientist: Claire Lac (PhD student, Toulouse, France) and Dr Charline Ogier (Toulouse, France)
Congratulations to the awardees!