UEG Week: Long-term aspirin use reduces the incidence of digestive cancers by up to 47%

(Barcelona, October 31, 2017) The long-term use of aspirin has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of digestive cancers, new research presented today at the 25th UEG Week has found. 

In a study involving over 600,000 people, researchers compared patients who were prescribed aspirin over a long period (for at least six months, average duration of aspirin prescribed was 7.7 years) with non-aspirin users and assessed the incidences of a number of cancers. Those prescribed with aspirin showed a 47% reduction in liver and oesophageal cancer incidence, a 38% reduction in gastric cancer incidence, a 34% reduction in pancreatic cancer incidence and a 24% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence. Digestive cancers account for almost a quarter of cancer cases in Europe. Colorectal, gastric and pancreatic cancer are within the top five cancer killers throughout the continent, with digestive cancers representing 30.1% of cancer deaths.  The effect of long-term use of aspirin on cancer incidence was also examined for cancers outside of the digestive system. Here, a significant reduction was shown for some (leukaemia, lung and prostate) but not all (breast, bladder, kidney and multiple myeloma) cancers.  Aspirin is used across the globe to treat a number of health conditions, ranging from short-term pain relief to long-term prescriptions. Whilst the use of aspirin is subject to debate within the medical community, a recent study found that patients who stopped taking aspirin were 37% more likely to have an adverse cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, than those who continued with their prescription. Lead researcher, Professor Kelvin Tsoi from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, presented the study today at the 25th UEG Week in Barcelona. “The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers” commented Professor Tsoi. “What should be noted is the significance of the results for cancers within the digestive tract, where the reductions in cancer incidence were all very substantial, especially for liver and oesophageal cancer.” Access the press release in Spanish References 
  1. Tsoi, K. et al. Long-term use of aspirin is more effective to reduce the incidences of gastrointestinal cancers than non-gastrointestinal cancers: A 10-year population based study in Hong Kong. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona 2017.
  2. GLOBOCAN, IARC (2012). Section of Cancer Surveillance.
  3. Stopping aspirin treatment raises cardiovascular risk by over a third (2017). Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319541.php
Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Kelvin Tsoi, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Kelvin Tsoi Professor Kelvin Tsoi is a research associate Professor of the Stanley Ho Big Data Decision Analytics Research Centre, and an associate Professor of the School of Public Health and Primary Care in the Chinese University Hong Kong. He is a digital epidemiologist and his research interests are in cancer epidemiology and big data research on digital health.    About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:  
  • 25th UEG Week, celebrate with us at our jubilee meeting, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, funding Live Educational Events, Online Courses and Standards & Guidelines Initiatives organised by UEG Member Societies and other providers.
  • UEG Journal, 10 issues per year covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, united for digestive health in Europe – prioritising Gastroenterology on the EU health agenda
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter

UEG Week: Bacteria eradication reduces gastric cancer risk by 22% in the over-60s, new research shows

(Barcelona, October 31, 2017) Treating Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of the stomach could lead to a marked reduction in the risk of stomach cancer – particularly in the elderly – according to results of a study presented today at the 25th UEG Week in Barcelona. The population-based study, which involved more than 63,000 people who had received antibiotic-based treatment for H. pylori infection, showed a 22% reduction in the risk of developing stomach cancer in those aged 60 years and over compared with the general population. 

The research analysed the risk of gastric cancer development in a large group of individuals who had received antibiotic therapy to treat H. pylori infection – a type of bacteria that lives in the lining of the stomach. Of those who had been treated over the age of 60, 0.8% developed gastric cancer, in comparison to 1.1% of patients in an age-matched general population sample.  Gastric cancer is the fourth largest cancer killer in the world, accounting for 754,000 deaths in 2015. It mainly affects older people, with an average age of 69 years at the time of diagnosis.  Classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the H. pylori infection is the most significant factor leading to the development of gastric cancer, representing 78% of all global gastric cancer cases. The infection is thought to affect more than 50% of the world’s population, although most people do not know that they are infected until they develop symptoms of gastric irritation, such as heartburn or dyspepsia. A diagnosis is usually made using a blood or breath test, but can also be made through an endoscopy or a stool test. Presenting the results of this major study at the Opening Plenary session of the 25th UEG Week in Barcelona, Professor WK Leung from the Department of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, explained; “We saw a significantly lower risk of gastric cancer in people over 60 who received antibiotic therapy for their H. pylori infection, in comparison to the general population. The 22% reduction is remarkable, and suggests that there is real value in the treatment of this infection.”  “Although it has been commonly thought that it may be too late to give H. pylori eradication therapy to older subjects, we can now confidently recommend that the H. pylori infection should be treated in the elderly to help reduce their risk of developing gastric cancer” added Professor Leung. Access the press release in Spanish References
  1. Leung WK, Wong IO, Chan EW et al. Benefits of H. pylori eradication in preventing gastric cancer in the older population: Results from a population-based study. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona 2017.
  2. World Health Organisation. Cancer Fact Sheet 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/. Accessed 18 August 2017.
  3. American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about stomach cancer? Available from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed 18 August 2017.
  4. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Helicobacter pylori Working Group (2014). Helicobacter pylori eradication as a strategy for preventing gastric cancer. Lyon, France. Available from:   http://www.iarc.fr/en/publications/pdfs-online/wrk/wrk8/Helicobacter_pylori_Eradication.pdf. Accessed 18 August 2017.
Notes to Editors For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Leung, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor WK Leung  Professor WK Leung is currently the Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor in Gastroenterology of the University of Hong Kong. His research interests are on prevention and early detection of gastric and colon cancer. About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • 25th UEG Week, celebrate with us at our jubilee meeting, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, funding Live Educational Events, Online Courses and Standards & Guidelines Initiatives organised by UEG Member Societies and other providers.
  • UEG Journal, 10 issues per year covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, united for digestive health in Europe – prioritising Gastroenterology on the EU health agenda
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:            Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter

UEG Week: Artificial intelligence: is this the future of early colorectal cancer detection?

(Barcelona, October 30, 2017) A new endoscopic system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) has today been shown to automatically identify colorectal adenomas during colonoscopy. The system, developed in Japan, has recently been tested in one of the first prospective trials of AI-assisted endoscopy in a clinical setting, with the results presented today at the 25th UEG Week in Barcelona, Spain.

AI-assisted endocytoscopy – how it works The new computer-aided diagnostic system uses an endocytoscopic* image ­– a 500-fold magnified view of a colorectal polyp – to analyse approximately 300 features of the polyp after applying narrow-band imaging (NBI) mode or staining with methylene blue. The system compares the features of each polyp against more than 30,000 endocytoscopic images that were used for machine learning, allowing it to predict the lesion pathology in less than a second. Preliminary studies demonstrated the feasibility of using such a system to classify colorectal polyps, however, until today, no prospective studies have been reported. Prospective study in routine practice The prospective study, led by Dr Yuichi Mori from Showa University in Yokohama, Japan, involved 250 men and women in whom colorectal polyps had been detected using endocytoscopy1. The AI-assisted system was used to predict the pathology of each polyp and those predictions were compared with the pathological report obtained from the final resected specimens. Overall, 306 polyps were assessed real-time by using the AI-assisted system, providing a sensitivity of 94%, specificity of 79%, accuracy of 86%, and positive and negative predictive values of 79% and 93% respectively, in identifying neoplastic changes. Speaking at the Opening Plenary at UEG Week, Dr Mori explained; “The most remarkable breakthrough with this system is that artificial intelligence enables real-time optical biopsy of colorectal polyps during colonoscopy, regardless of the endoscopists’ skill. This allows the complete resection of adenomatous polyps and prevents unnecessary polypectomy of non-neoplastic polyps.” “We believe these results are acceptable for clinical application and our immediate goal is to obtain regulatory approval for the diagnostic system” added Dr Mori. Moving forwards, the research team is now undertaking a multicentre study for this purpose and the team are also working on developing an automatic polyp detection system. “Precise on-site identification of adenomas during colonoscopy contributes to the complete resection of neoplastic lesions” said Dr Mori. “This is thought to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer and, ultimately, cancer-related death.” Access the press release in Spanish
References
  1. Mori Y, Kudo S-E, Misawa M et al. Diagnostic yield of “artificial intelligence”-assisted endocytoscopy for colorectal polyps: a prospective study. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona 2017.
  2. Mori Y, Kudo SE, Chiu PW et al. Impact of an automated system for endocytoscopic diagnosis of small colorectal lesions: an international web-based study. Endoscopy 2016;48(12):1110-18.
  3. Misawa M, Kudo SE, Mori Y, et al. Characterization of colorectal lesions using a computer-aided diagnostic system for narrow-band imaging endocytoscopy. Gastroenterology 2016;150(7):1531-32. 
Notes to Editors *Endoscytoscope is a prototype endoscope provided by Olympus Corp. For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Mori, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Dr Yuichi Mori Dr Yuichi Mori is an assistant professor of Digestive Disease Centre, Showa University Northern Yokohama Hospital, Yokohama, Japan. His research interest is on colonoscopy and developing computer-aided diagnosis for endoscopy. About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:  
  • 25th UEG Week, celebrate with us at our jubilee meeting, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, funding Live Educational Events, Online Courses and Standards & Guidelines Initiatives organised by UEG Member Societies and other providers.
  • UEG Journal, 10 issues per year covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, united for digestive health in Europe – prioritising Gastroenterology on the EU health agenda
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter

UEG Week: Colorectal cancer screening should start at 45, new research shows

(Barcelona, October 30, 2017) Screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) should begin at 45 years of age to match rising mortality rates in young adults, research presented today at the 25th UEG Week Barcelona reveals.

Scientists in France analysed 6,027 colonoscopies and found a 400% increase in the detection of neoplasia (the new, uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue) in patients aged between 45-49 in comparison to patients aged 40-44. The neoplasia detection rate was also 8% higher in people aged between 45-49 than it was between 50-54, leading to calls for CRC screening programmes to begin at 45 years of age. The mean number of polyps (growths on the inner lining of the colon that can turn cancerous if left untreated) and the adenoma detection rate (proportion of individuals undergoing a colonoscopy who have one or more adenomas detected) also increased by 95.8% and 95.4% respectively between the 40-44 and 45-49 age groups. This was far more substantial than the increase between the 45-49 and 50-54 age groups, which was 19.1% and 11.5% respectively. Lead researcher, Dr David Karsenti, who will present the findings for the first time today at UEG Week, explains; “These findings demonstrate that it is at 45 years old that a remarkable increase in the colorectal lesions frequency is shown, especially in the detection rate of early neoplasia. Even when patients with a familial and personal history of polyps or cancer are excluded from the findings, there is still a noticeable increase in detection rates in patients from the age of 45.” CRC is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Europe, killing 215,000 Europeans every year, with research recently revealing that three in ten CRC diagnoses are now among people younger than 55. There is strong evidence to demonstrate that screening for CRC reduces incidence and mortality rates, yet there are vast inequalities in CRC screening across Europe with both organised and opportunistic schemes, different types of tests and varying participation and detection rates. Despite the dramatic rise of CRC in young adults, the vast majority of screening programmes throughout Europe commence between the ages of 50 and 55, with some not beginning until the age of 60. Dr Karsenti adds “Regardless of the type of screening that is in place, the results of our research strongly indicate that screening for colorectal cancer should begin at the age of 45. This will this help us to increase the early detection of colorectal cancer in young adults and also enable the identification and safe removal of polyps that may become cancerous at a later date." Access the press release in Spanish
References
 
  1. Karsenti, D. et al (2017), Adenoma detection rate according to age: colonoscopy screening should start at 45 years old, Presented at the 25th UEG Week Barcelona, October 30, 2017.
  2. Epidemiology of colorectal cancer: international comparison, 4th European Colorectal Cancer Days 2015. Available at: http://www.crcprevention.eu/index.php?pg=colorectal-cancer-epidemiology
  3. Dramatic rise in colorectal cancer in younger adults (2017), Medscape. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/876409
Notes to Editors Download our leaflet – Colorectal Screening Across Europe – for further insight into screening in your country and across the continent.  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Karsenti, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Dr David Karsenti Digestive Endoscopy Unit – Clinique de Bercy, Charenton-le-Pont, France About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:  
  • 25th UEG Week, celebrate with us at our jubilee meeting, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, funding Live Educational Events, Online Courses and Standards & Guidelines Initiatives organised by UEG Member Societies and other providers.
  • UEG Journal, 10 issues per year covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, united for digestive health in Europe – prioritising Gastroenterology on the EU health agenda
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter

Focus screening efforts to ‘Save Thousands of Lives’ from digestive cancers - say experts

(Prague, 26 September, 2017) Experts from United European Gastroenterology (UEG), presenting at the European Digestive Cancer Days (EDCD) Conference in Prague today, are calling on European governments to focus their efforts on developing early diagnosis techniques, in order to save thousands of lives from digestive cancers including a more targeted approach to ensure at risk patients don’t ‘slip through the early-detection net’.

Digestive cancers account for 3 of the top 5 European cancer killers, 23.4% of European cancer incidence and 30.1% of European cancer deaths. Currently, of the 5 primary digestive cancers, only colorectal cancer (CRC) is screened for and whilst some significant progress has been made in CRC screening in many European countries, early detection of other digestive cancers is still not sufficiently developed, even in high risk patients. Experts, legislators and patient organisations from across Europe are meeting at the EDCD to present and discuss new developments and research in digestive cancer screening and early detection and will be calling upon governments to focus their efforts on developing specific screening and early detection techniques. “Today, we are recommending that European governments focus their efforts on improving early detection of digestive cancers by funding and encouraging research in four specific areas; to give at-risk patients the best possible chance of survival. Public health authorities also need to think smarter when delivering screening, including looking at opportunities to screen for more than one cancer at the same time and using new cancer profiling techniques as they become available.” says UEG’s Professor Thierry Ponchon. UEG is highlighting specific areas for review in digestive cancer screening which they claim could not only improve outcomes but once developed could be straightforward to implement, such as: 
  • Look to the future to implement faecal microbiota screening (FBS) to predict colorectal cancer (CRC) before it develops. Early studies show that gut microbiota-based prediction is more accurate than the current faecal occult blood test, with the potential to predict CRC before it develops rather than just detect its indicators this is a promising prospect for the future of CRC screening, once further research shows this is proven on a population level.
  • Look to screen patients with heartburn or acid-reflux, using the Cytosponge™ or ‘pill on a string’ within the doctor’s practice, to increase early detection of Barrett’s oesophagus - an early precursor to oesophageal cancer. Experts report that existing screening methods for oesophageal cancer are expensive and ineffective, with evidence from the United States showing that only about 7% of people with oesophageal adenocarcinoma are detected through existing endoscopic screening approaches. However, evidence of the use of an affordable, easy, non-invasive test known as a ‘pill on a string’ has shown to be safe, preferable and accurate and if proven on a population basis, should be widely adopted.  
  • Microbiota screening in alcohol dependent patients at risk of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to determine levels of cancer-protecting short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Research indicates that microbiota profiling in alcohol-dependent patients could determine whether the patient’s gut is lacking cancer-protecting SCFAs and could more effectively verify the likelihood of liver cancer developing.
  • Gastric cancer screening should be implemented alongside CRC screening in European countries with an intermediate incidence (10 > 100,000). New evidence presented at the EDCD shows, for the first time, that screening for gastric cancer in at least 14 European countries with an intermediate incidence rate would be cost effective if combined with a pre-scheduled colonoscopy for CRC. There is currently no screening provision for gastric cancer in any European country.
Despite the significance of digestive cancer incidence and mortality, progress in establishing digestive cancer screening lags behind breast and prostate cancer and UEG expert, Monique van Leerdam concludes; “Whilst we are making good progress in colorectal cancer screening, we need to focus research on developing  new targeted opportunities for screening in all digestive cancers and ensure that we give every patient, especially those at higher risk, the opportunity for earlier intervention – it could save many more European lives”. For more information, visit www.ueg.eu
Notes to Editors Media Enquiries For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact James M. Butcher on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Professor Thierry Ponchon Professor Thierry Ponchon is from the Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, France. He is chairman of the UEG Public Affairs Committee, chairman of the European Digestive Cancer Days, a UEG endoscopy specialist and a member of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee. About Dr. Monique van Leerdam Dr Monique van Leerdam is a UEG CRC screening expert. She is head of the department of Gastrointestinal Oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. She is a member of the UEG Public Affairs Committee, the ESGE Guideline Committee and the Advisory Council of the European Society for Digestive Oncology About the European Digestive Cancer Days The European Digestive Cancer Days: Prospects and Challenges in Prevention and Screening. Together with the Institute of Health Information and Statistics of the Czech Republic, the UEG Public Affairs Committee is hosting the 3rd European Digestive Cancer Days, this year in Prague, Czech Republic. The conference looks at prevention, screening and early diagnosis of digestive diseases in the light of cutting edge, up-to-date evidence and practical experiences. The conference is set to discuss the success and variances in existing screening programmes, propose steps for early detection of other digestive diseases and detail the priorities across the continent – covering cost effectiveness, programme methods, parameters for monitoring, quality assurance and logistic organisation. The conference is taking place September 25-27, 2017 in Prague. CRC Screening Leaflet UEG have produced an information leaflet on Colorectal Cancer Screening across Europe, with a new edition being launched at the European Digestive Cancer Days. To view or download the leaflet, visit: https://www.ueg.eu/publications/ About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • 25th UEG Week, celebrate with us at our jubilee meeting, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Activity Grants, funding Live Educational Events, Online Courses and Standards & Guidelines Initiatives organised by UEG Member Societies and other providers.
  • UEG Journal, 10 issues per year covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, united for digestive health in Europe – prioritising Gastroenterology on the EU health agenda 
References
  1. GLOBOCAN 2012 (IARC) Section of Cancer Surveillance (29/8/2017)
  2. Ai, Luoyan, et al. "Systematic evaluation of supervised classifiers for fecal microbiota-based prediction of colorectal cancer." Oncotarget 8.6 (2017): 9546.
  3. Vaughan TL, Fitzgerald RC. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015;12:243–8
  4. United European Gastroenterology. 2017. Alcohol, GI cancer and microbiota. Available at: https://www.ueg.eu/education/latest-news/article/article/alcohol-gi-cancerand-microbiota/. [Accessed 23 June 2017].
  5. Areia, Miguel, et al. "Endoscopic screening for gastric cancer: A cost-utility analysis for countries with an intermediate gastric cancer risk." United European Gastroenterology Journal (2017): 2050640617722902

Pancreatic cancer set to become third biggest cancer killer in EU next year

(Vienna, 7 November, 2016) The number of deaths from pancreatic cancer will overtake breast cancer mortality rates in the EU in 2017, a study has found.

The findings, recently presented at UEG Week 2016, mean that pancreatic cancer will become the third leading cause of death from cancer in the EU behind lung and colorectal cancer. Pancreatic cancer mortality rates are increasing in many countries across the EU and it is estimated that 91,500 deaths will occur from the disease next year, compared with 91,000 from breast cancer (see Figure 1 below). The research used time-linear prediction models to estimate mortality rates until 2025, when deaths from pancreatic cancer (111,500) across Europe are projected to have increased by almost 50% since 2010 (76,000). All countries included in the study show varying increases in pancreatic cancer mortality rates from 20% to a staggering 131% increase over the 15-year period (see Figure 2 below).

“Pancreatic cancer survival rate is lower than any other cancer. Consequently, it is absolutely vital that patients receive a diagnosis as early as possible to allow for surgery, which is currently the only potential for a cure” - Professor Matthias Löhr

Despite being the third biggest cancer killer, the incidence of pancreatic cancer across Europe is relatively low in comparison with colorectal, lung and breast cancer. This demonstrates the extremely poor outlook for patients that are diagnosed with the disease which, unlike many other cancers, has not changed in the last 40 years.   Research shows that the median five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer across Europe is 5% and patients lose 98% of their healthy life expectancy at the point of diagnosis. Despite these alarming statistics, 64% of Europeans state that they know very little about pancreatic cancer and currently there is no feasible screening method. Ahead of World Pancreatic Cancer Day on November 17, experts are calling for increased awareness of the disease to allow patients to be diagnosed in time for life-saving surgery. Professor Matthias Löhr, UEG pancreatic cancer specialist, explains, “Pancreatic cancer survival rate is lower than any other cancer. Consequently, it is absolutely vital that patients receive a diagnosis as early as possible to allow for surgery, which is currently the only potential for a cure”. “Members of the public as well as doctors are therefore advised to increase their knowledge of the signs for pancreatic cancer, which include new-onset diabetes, abdominal and back pain, a change in bowel habits and jaundice” adds Professor Löhr. A new video to help increase public awareness of pancreatic cancer is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQMyCg0LFA&feature=youtu.be
Notes to Editors
Download an infographic on pancreatic cancer For further information and interviews with Professor Matthias Löhr, please email media@ueg.eu or call Luke Paskins on 0044 (0)1444 811099 About Professor Matthias Löhr Professor Matthias Löhr is a UEG pancreatic cancer expert from the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
References
  1. Ferlay J., Partensky C., Bray F. More deaths from pancreatic cancer than breast cancer in the EU by 2017. ACTA Oncologica, August 2016.
  2. International Agency for Research On Cancer
  3. Carrato A., et al. A Systematic Review of the Burden of Pancreatic Cancer in Europe: Real-World Impact on Survival, Quality of Life and Costs. Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer, May 2014.
  4. Ipsos Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Survey: Global Online Omnibus Survey. November 2014. 

Figure 1 - recorded and projected number of pancreatic and breast cancer deaths in the EU
Figure 1 - recorded and projected number of pancreatic and breast cancer deaths in the UE

Figure 2 - % increase of pancreatic cancer deaths by 2025 Figure 2 - % increase of pancreatic cancer deaths by 2025
Figure 3 - Pancreatic cancer infographic Figure 3 - Pancreatic cancer infographic

UEG Week: New advances in imaging to enhance the detection of GI cancers

(Vienna, October 17, 2016) A new imaging technique is under development with the aim of detecting and characterising early cancerous changes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

The technique, which is today being presented at UEG Week Vienna 2016, involves using a standard endoscopy system with a novel set of camera filters, increasing the number of colours that can be visualised during endoscopy and potentially improving the ability to detect abnormal cells in the lining of the gut.

Dr Sarah Bohndiek, from the University of Cambridge, UK, who is leading on the development, explains the new technique. “In traditional endoscopy, we use white light and detectors that replicate our eyes, which detect light in red, green and blue colour channels. We are now developing an approach called ‘hyperspectral imaging’, which will increase the number of colour channels that can be visualised from three to over 50.”

We believe our new fluorescence HSI system, which could be readily incorporated into standard clinical endoscopies, brings the diagnostic power of hyperspectral imaging one step closer to being used for the rapid detection of early cancerous changes within the GI tract.

“Since cell changes associated with the development of cancer lead to colour changes in the tissues, we believe that hyperspectral imaging could help us to improve the specificity of lesion identification because we can use these colours to identify abnormal tissues”, added Dr Bohndiek.

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum. In contrast to the human eye, which sees colour primarily in three bands (red, green and blue), spectral imaging divides the colour spectrum into many more bands and can be extended beyond the visible range of light. The images obtained by HSI can provide information about the physiology and chemical composition of human tissues, and the technique is emerging as having great potential for non-invasive diagnosis and image-guided surgery.

“Hyperspectral imaging is a powerful tool that can reveal the chemical composition of human tissues and together with different fluorescent dyes, can identify a range of biological processes,” said Dr Bohndiek. “The technique has many potential applications within cancer diagnostics, with exciting developments already reported in the detection of Barrett’s oesophagus, which is a precancerous condition in some people.”

Dr Bohndiek and colleagues from Cambridge University have been working to overcome some of the limitations of currently-available instruments used for HSI, which are complex, bulky and expensive, and are not suitable for widespread clinical use. The team have developed a small, low-cost and robust fluorescence HSI system that has already been used to image a range of dyes in realistic tissue backgrounds.

“We believe our new fluorescence HSI system, which could be readily incorporated into standard clinical endoscopies, brings the diagnostic power of hyperspectral imaging one step closer to being used for the rapid detection of early cancerous changes within the GI tract.”

Access the release in German (PDF)
Access the release in English (PDF)

References

1.    Lu G, Fei B. Medical hyperspectral imaging: a review. J Biomed Opt 2014;19(1):10901.

2.    Luthman AS, Dumitru S, Quiros-Gonzalez I et al. Wide field fluorescence hyperspectral imaging (fHSI) for biomedical applications. Manuscript in submission.

Notes to Editors

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Sarah Bohndiek, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

About Dr Sarah Bohndiek

Dr Bohndiek is a University Lecturer in Biomedical Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK. She is the Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. Dr Bohndiek is presenting her findings during the Opening Plenary Session at UEG Week Vienna 2016.

About Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald (UEG Spokesperson)

Professor Fitzgerald is a member of the UEG Scientific Committee and a consultant physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

About UEG Week

UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress, attracting up to 13,000 participants from 116 countries. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning.

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.

To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 

  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe

Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact:           

Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

Follow UEG on Twitter

MEPs call for more early screening in fight to prevent cancers

(Brussels, May 26, 2016) Members of the European Parliament, together with European health organisations, are calling for more early screening to prevent digestive cancers that kill more than 500,000 people in Europe every year.

The MEPs against Cancer (MAC), led by MEP Pavel Poc (Czech Republic, S&D), made the call during a policy discussion “Prevention, Promotion and Screening: European Code against Cancer” held today in the European Parliament. The event was organised to draw attention to the 4th European Code against Cancer and the importance of early detection. MEP Poc said that the recommendations of the Code are very simple, yet scientifically proven actions, which can be taken to help prevent cancer. “I encourage everyone to get familiar with the Code and share the recommendations with friends and family. Especially in current times, with the EU facing many crises that cast shadows over the health agenda, we should make our best efforts to avoid yet another one - this time in public health”. MEP Poc said that in the EU, more than one and a quarter million people die from cancer every year, which is just over one quarter of the total number of deaths. It was pointed out that almost half of all deaths due to cancer in Europe could be avoided if everyone followed the recommendations in the European Code against Cancer. The latest edition of the code recommends 12 actions that can be taken. The event was organised in the framework of the European Week against Cancer (May 25 to May 31) by United European Gastroenterology (UEG), the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) and MEPs against Cancer (MAC). The policy discussion focused particularly on digestive cancers. Thierry Ponchon, Chair UEG Public Affairs Committee, explained that the current rates for CRC screening programmes vary from as little as 17% in areas of Poland and just 22% in Belgium, to a healthier rate of 64% in Norway and 70% in Finland. “As health professionals we are committed to all efforts that would help to make uptake of cancer screening programmes higher,” he said. Health professionals play an essential role in the prevention and early detection of major chronic diseases. The actions to prevent specific chronic diseases also apply to the prevention of other major chronic illnesses. Health professionals are integral to making this connection work in practice. Dr Sakari Karjalainen, ECL President said: “as part of our long-term strategy, ECL strongly supports equitable access to quality controlled cancer screening programmes in accordance with EU guidelines and the best available international evidence, as outlined in the recommendations of the European Code Against Cancer.” He welcomed the collaborative initiatives “ECL is delighted to partner with important health professional associations such as UEG with whom we have collaborated previously for the European Colorectal Cancer Days,” he added. “Health professionals are absolutely essential actors for improving public health via the promotion of all of the messages of the European Code against Cancer.” Access Colorectal Cancer Screening Across Europe leaflet Notes to Editors About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Digestive Health Month, in May, is in an initiative being held to raise awareness about digestive health in Europe and to highlight how additional funding can help to advance the understanding of related diseases. In the framework of the initiative, UEG is hosting two events in the European Parliament and also features on social media with the hashtag #DigestiveHealthMonth.
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
About Professor Thierry Ponchon Professor Thierry Ponchon is from the Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, France. He is a UEG endoscopy specialist and a member of the ESGE Quality Improvement Committee. To interview Professor Ponchon, or for further information, please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About Association of European Cancer Leagues The role of ECL is to facilitate the collaboration between cancer leagues throughout Europe and to influence EU and pan-European policies.  The mission of the Association of European Cancer Leagues is to influence and improve cancer control and cancer care in Europe through collaboration between its members in their fight against cancer, and to influence EU and pan-European policies. About MEPs against Cancer MAC is a group of MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) dedicated to supporting cancer prevention and control at the EU level and beyond. MAC is led by MEP Alojz Peterle. About MEP Pavel Poc Pavel Poc is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Czech Republic and is a member of S&D Group (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament). MEP Poc is a Vice Chair of the ENVI Committee and Vice Chair of initiative MEPs against Cancer. Contact Details: UEG Brussels Office +32 2 536 86 68 publicaffairs@ueg.eu

One in four cases of CRC diagnosed within two years of a negative screening result

(Vienna, 23 February 2016) One in four cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) detected in a guiac faecal occult blood testing (gFOBT) programme are diagnosed within two years of a negative screening result, a study in the The UEG Journal has found, suggesting that gFOBT should be replaced by more sensitive screening methods to improve detection rates.

CRC is the most common type of digestive cancer in Europe and annual incidence is predicted to rise by 12% by 2020.   The observational study was carried out on 772,790 people during the first round of the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, in which individuals aged 50-74 years were invited to participate in gFOBT screening over a two year study. Overall uptake of the screening was 54%, and of the 1,979 individuals who were diagnosed with CRC during the study period, 25% of the cases detected were within two years of a negative screening result (interval cancers).   Professor Evelien Dekker, United European Gastroenterology CRC screening expert, comments: “Although there are no universal guidelines on an acceptable interval cancer rate, this study supports the need to switch CRC screening with gFOBT to a more sensitive method, such as faecal immunochemical testing, to help reduce this figure”. Due to its superior analytical technique and adjustable cut-off levels, faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) offers substantial clinical benefits which could help increase CRC detection during screening. Comparative studies between the two faecal tests have been performed and have demonstrated the superiority of FIT over gFOBT screening. FIT has been fully implemented in some areas of Europe such as France and Slovenia, demonstrating robust results so far. A nationwide programme is currently being rolled out in the Netherlands and other nations are piloting the method too. As well as its enhanced clinical benefits, utilising FIT has been shown to increase participation rates in CRC screening because the test is easier to perform and typically uses only a single faecal sample instead of the three required in gFOBT. “The simplicity of FIT should encourage a larger proportion of the public to undertake CRC screening, which also can help increase the levels early detection to improve survival rates” explains Professor Dekker. “With incidence of CRC expected to rise between now and 2020, implementing FIT across Europe should help increase screening participation rates. In the Netherlands we have experienced a participation rate that is 12% higher for FIT compared to gFOBT”.    The Need for Screening: With 355,436 people (46%) not participating in screening during the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, the study also highlighted that 47% cases of CRC arose in these non-participants. This compares to just 28% of patients receiving diagnosis through a screening test, where the cancer is more likely to be detected at an earlier stage (see table below). Early detection of CRC results in a high survival rate, emphasising the requirement that both an effective screening process and a high uptake of screening should be targeted to identify and treat the disease as early as possible. Professor Dekker adds: “These findings demonstrate that members of the public should be encouraged to participate in CRC screening and not ignore the potential symptoms of CRC after a negative screening result. Consultation with a doctor is strongly advised if symptoms occur, which include blood in the stool or a persistent change in bowel habits”. 

Stage

Screen-detected Cancer (%)

Interval Cancer (%)

Non-participant Cancer (%)

A

33.9

18.7

11.3

B

25.6

25.5

25.3

C

25.2

28.5

29.3

D

6.3

18.9

21.5

Unknown

9

8.4

12.6

Read the full study, published in the UEG Journal Notes to Editors About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more by visiting www.ueg.eu To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
About Professor Dekker Professor Evelien Dekker, UEG spokesperson and colorectal cancer screening expert, AMC Amsterdam Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Netherlands. To interview Professor Dekker, or for further information, please contact Luke Paskins at UEG on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu References
  1. Steele RJC, Stanners G, et al. Interval cancers in a national colorectal cancer screening programme. UEG Journal. January 2016. http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/01/06/2050640615624294.full
  2. Roberts SE, Samuel DG, Williams JG, et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part one: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014.
  3. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
  4. Van Rossum L et al, Gastro 2008
  5. Hol L et al, Gut 2010
  6. Allison JE, Halloran SP, Population screening for colorectal cancer means getting FIT: The past, the present, and future of colorectal cancer screening using the faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT). Gut and Liver. March 2014. http://www.gutnliver.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.5009/gnl.2014.8.2.117

Experts call for a new approach to reducing cases of pancreatic cancer 

(Vienna, November 10, 2015) Pancreatic cancer survival rates have remained at an alarmingly low 3 to 6% for more than 40 years. Ahead of World Pancreatic Cancer Day, 13 November 2015, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) call for greater action from healthcare providers and governments on pancreatic cancer and new public health initiatives to raise awareness of symptoms and risk factors and ensure earlier diagnosis and an increase in survival rates.

Pancreatic cancer is the eighth most common cancer in Europe, with approximately 104,000 newly diagnosed cases annually yet, according to Matthias Löhr, UEG pancreatic cancer specialist, knowledge of the disease is alarmingly low. “Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with highly unmet medical need.  It is vital that there is more awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of pancreatic cancer among the public and medical community to allow more people to be diagnosed in time for surgery – currently the only potential for a cure". Chronic pancreatitis and diabetes as well as lifestyle and environmental factors such as, obesity and smoking are well-recognised major risk factors for pancreatic cancer but collectively only account for less than half of all pancreatic cancer cases. According to UEG’s Survey of Digestive Health across Europe, increased risks for people with diabetes have been reported as between 40% and 120% and people who smoke have been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (a pre-cursor to pancreatic cancer) ten years earlier than non-smokers. In fact, The European (EPIC) study showed that passive smoking, either in the home or at work, can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 50 per cent and that children who are exposed daily to tobacco smoke have double the risk of contracting pancreatic cancer in later life. However, recent research also indicates a strong link between pancreatic cancer and common bacterial infections. Epidemiological data suggest that Helicobacter pylori, a common strain of bacteria found in the stomach, may be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. These bacterial infections may contribute to the progression of pancreatic cancer by acting jointly with other risk factors that impact inflammation and immune response, such as smoking and obesity. “A well as action from healthcare providers, increasing public awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and following some simple lifestyle improvements will go a long way to ensuring that pancreatic cancer survival rates dramatically improve within the next few years" adds Professor Löhr. “Symptoms to look out for include: abdominal or back pain, weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea and changes in stools and I recommend to all my patients that they can reduce risk of any cancer by following a balanced diet, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking and visiting the dentist regularly". Notes to Editors Available for interview Professor Matthias Löhr, UEG spokesperson and European pancreatic cancer expert, Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden About World Pancreatic Cancer Day – November 13th 2015 WPCD is an awareness initiative set up by a group of international pancreatic cancer organisations. For further information see https://pancreaticcanceraction.org/support-us/awareness-month/world-pancreatic-cancer-day-2/ Worldwide there are around 280,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year and it is the seventh biggest cancer killer (fifth in the UK), yet so many people know nothing about it. But they can be forgiven for that because unfortunately, it barely gets attention. This cancer is chronically underfunded and has languished in the ‘too-hard-to-deal-with’ category for far too long. This is reflected in the dire survival rates between 3 to 6%, which haven’t improved for more than 40 years. More awareness and understanding about the illness among the public, medical community and government and the resulting investment and interest in the disease will allow more people to be diagnosed in time for surgery – currently the only potential for a cure. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a member of The European Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Pancreatic Cancer, which aims at bringing the burden of pancreatic cancer to the attention of EU-level decision-makers and improving public and especially political awareness of the disease. The EMSPPC calls for an EU-wide network of pancreatic cancer registries and earlier diagnosis through greater research funding. UEG is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting http://www.ueg.eu/press/ or contact:         Luke Paskins media@ueg.eu     Tel: +44(0)1444 811099     @UEGMedia References: 
  1. https://www.pancan.org/section-about/news-press-center/2012-press-releases/survival-rate-for-pancreatic-cancer-remains-unchanged-while-other-leading-cancers-see-an-increase-in-their-relative-survival-rates/
  2. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/pancreatic-cancer/incidence#ref-5
  3. Michaud DS Role of bacterial infections in pancreatic cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2013 Oct; 34 (10): 2193-7
  4. Vrieling, A., et al., Cigarette smoking, environmental tobacco smoke exposure and pancreatic cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Int J Cancer 2009.
  5. Chuan,S.C., Gallo, V., Michaud, D., et al.,  Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in childhood and incidence of cancer in adulthood in never smokers in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition. Cancer Causes Control 2011. 22(3):487-94.
  6. Michaud DS Role of bacterial infections in pancreatic cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2013 Oct; 34 (10): 2193-7

UEG Week: Improving risk profiling is key to preventing many GI cancers

(Barcelona, October 27, 2015) Cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract continue to exert their toll across Europe, with many diagnosed too late for effective treatment. Bowel cancer screening programmes are now underway in most European countries, but screening for other GI cancers is patchy and not necessarily well-targeted. Today, experts at United European Gastroenterology (UEG) call for better risk profiling for all GI cancers in order to develop more targeted approaches to their screening and prevention.

“Our growing understanding of the causes of these cancers, coupled with new diagnostic techniques, mean we are in a good position to start developing precision prevention programmes,” said Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the University of Cambridge in the UK, speaking at UEG Week 2015 in Barcelona. “These would ensure we triage individuals based on their relative risk and apply the most appropriate screening, prevention and treatment options to each individual.” Precision prevention of oesophageal cancer Prof. Fitzgerald and colleagues have recently applied the principles of precision prevention to the most common type of oesophageal cancer, known as oesophageal adenocarcinoma. This cancer is usually found in the lower part of the oesophagus, and is often associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and its complications. The incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma has risen alarmingly over the past few decades, and despite treatment improvements, around half of all patients still die within a year of diagnosis. “We know from studies in the US that only about 7% of people with oesophageal adenocarcinoma are detected using current screening approaches,” explains Prof. Fitzgerald. “Our theory is that we are taking the wrong approach to screening and preventing this type of cancer and we are proposing a new approach to risk stratification that could be applied to other GI cancers.” A five-tier strategy According to Prof. Fitzgerald’s new five-tier model of precision prevention, screening and preventative approaches for oesophageal adenocarcinoma would differ according to absolute risk.1 People at the lowest risk levels (levels 1 and 2) would be encouraged to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk, with primary care physicians assessing demographic risk factors (e.g. age, sex and race), recurrent reflux symptoms, family history and potential biomarkers in the blood and/or urine. Non-invasive techniques for oesophageal tissue sampling (such as Cytosponge™) and additional biomarker and genetic analyses would be applied in primary care to those at risk level 3, while secondary care endoscopy would be reserved for screening only those at risk level 4. At the highest risk level (level 5), patients would be referred to, and managed in, tertiary care. “If this protocol was applied on a population-wide basis, it would include many at-risk individuals who are not covered by current screening practices,” said Prof. Fitzgerald. “Stratifying risk in this way and applying risk-appropriate screening and prevention options would be cost-effective and detect many more cases of oesophageal cancer in their early stages.” “OMICs” and genetic analysis New methods of predicting the risk of, and identifying, different GI cancers are currently being evaluated and could help to inform precision prevention models such as the one proposed by Prof. Fitzgerald. Genetic analysis is already used to predict risk in several different types of cancer, and scientists have recently found a cluster of genetic mutations that help to predict the risk of Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer). Metabolomics, which analyses body fluids and tissue samples for particular chemicals, is a relative new technique that also looks promising for the detection of stomach cancer. “We are poised on the brink of having new techniques that should help us predict the risk of GI cancers in the future, ensure we prevent those we can, and detect many others far earlier than we do now,” said Prof. Fitzgerald. Access this press release in Spanish Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Fiztgerald, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact: Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter @UEGMedia References: 1. Vaughan TL, Fitzgerald RC. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015;12:243–8. 2. Thompson BA, Spurdle AB, Plazzer J-P, et al. Nat Genet 2014;46:107–15.  3. Chan AW, Gill RS, Sawyer MB. World J Gastroenterol 2014;20:12874­–82.

UEG Week: Increased risk of large bowel cancer for each 1 cm rise in waist circumference

(Barcelona, October 26, 2015) Experts speaking at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week (UEG Week 2015) in Barcelona, Spain today revealed compelling evidence of the link between excess body weight and risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition from the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University in the UK presented data showing an overall increase of 18% in relative risk of CRC per 5 unit increase in BMI.

“In addition, in men, there is now evidence that increasing waist circumference in middle age is associated with increased bowel cancer risk”, says Prof. Mathers. CRC risk was increased by nearly 60% in men who gained at least 10 cm in waist circumference over 10 years. “This increased cancer risk may be due to persistent inflammation in people with obesity”.

Patients with Lynch Syndrome (LS) have a higher than normal risk of CRC because of an inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for repairing DNA. Prof. Mathers presented new data showing that, in people with Lynch Syndrome, CRC risk increases with higher body weight and for those who are obese the risk of CRC is doubled. Quite surprisingly, the increase in CRC risk with higher body weight in people with Lynch Syndrome was about twice as great as that seen in the general population.

Prof. Mathers said “There is now compelling evidence that improved lifestyle, particularly better dietary choices and being more physically active, can help to prevent obesity and this will lower bowel cancer risk”. In addition, for those people who are already too heavy, losing weight may reduce their CRC risk but this is an area which requires further study. In his studies with Lynch Syndrome patients, Prof. Mathers observed that aspirin lowered the excess CRC risk seen in patients with obesity, perhaps through its anti-inflammatory effects. “This is a very intriguing finding” said Prof Mathers “which suggests that dietary and other anti-inflammatory agents might be beneficial in reducing CRC risk in people with obesity”.

“Bowel cancer is strongly associated with age, obesity and diet – and is driven by inflammation”, explains Prof. Mathers. “We can now give the public clear advice on the benefits of staying physically active, eating a healthy diet and avoiding weight gain to lower CRC risk as we get older”.   Notes to Editors  For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Barbara, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu About UEG Week UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning. About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including: 
  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.
  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe 
Find out more about UEG’s work by visiting www.ueg.eu or contact: Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu Follow UEG on Twitter @UEGMedia References 1. Ning Y et al. (2012) Obesity Reviews 11, 19-30 
2. Song M et al. (2015) Int. J. Epidemiol. PMID: 26403814 
3. Movahedi M et al. (2015) J. Clin. Oncol. PMID: 26282643
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