University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Collaborations, Opportunities at Annual ASCO Conference

By Karen Gehrman | | June 14, 2018

Collaborations, Opportunities at Annual ASCO Conference

Dr. Alan Venook presents during a poster session in the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Once again UCSF had an impressive presence at this year's annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) in Chicago. One of the world’s most prestigious gatherings of oncology professionals, ASCO 2018 drew more than 40,000 cancer experts focusing on groundbreaking research and advances in cancer with the theme of Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine.

Honors and Awards 

  • Tim Ferng, MD, a fellow in the Smith lab, and Lauren Levine, MD, a fellow in the Spitzer lab, were among 72 young researchers from across the US and Canada to receive 2018 Young Investigator Awards from ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation..
  • Laura Esserman, MD, MBA was one of 21 cancer researchers acknowledged with a Giants of Cancer Care Award by OncLive.

Drs. Laura van 't Veer and Laura Esserman caught in a rare moment together as participants at #ASCO18.  

HDFCCC members and junior faculty presented a range of cancer research from UCSF. Fifty-four of the HDFCCC’s 400+ members were represented in abstracts accepted for presentation.


ASCO provides investigators of all levels a chance to present and review research, confer with colleagues, and return with new ideas. In addition to attending keynotes, oral abstract presentations, posters presentations, and a variety of special events, attendees discuss and debate over social media.

On Twitter

Hope Rugo

Twitter usage at ASCO has grown dramatically since 2011, demonstrating the increasing role of social media in the dissemination of findings at conferences.   

Over 17,000 individual accounts posted over 80,000 tweets,  with the hashtag #ASCO18 during the conference. That averaged 5 tweets per participant, and an average overall of almost 600 per hour. Many investigators, such as Dr. Hope Rugo, used Twitter to confer with colleagues on research findings and treatment recommendations in real time during presentations. 

Online news channels such as @onclive, @oncologytube, and @ascopost conducted interviews with industry experts specifically for distribution on social media due to the large volume of traffic.

ASCO Voices

A new addition to the annual meeting, the ASCO Voices presentation was an informal, innovative, non-competitive session of individuals presentating a variety of perspectives to expand the view of oncology, medicine, and the world.
Nina Shah

Nina Shah, MD discussed her personal experience on being a mentor with colleague Rachna T. Shroff, MD of the University of Arizona.

Junior Investigators Represent the HDFCCC

Nickolas Dreher from the UCSF Breast Care Center presented "A breast cancer risk model as a predictor of interval cancer rate and tumor characteristics" at the Cancer Prevention Hereditary Genetics and Epidemiology Oral Abstracts session.  

Jason Budge presented the poster on the PHACT study on population health and genetic testing.  

First author Claire Hooker discussed work with Emily Bergsland, MD on "Pembrolizumab-based therapy in previously treated high grade extrapulmonary neuroendocrine carcinomas."

Veteran Members Share Leading Science

We caught a few of our members between sessions to share their thoughts. Pam Munster commented on her research on how to boost immune response for patients with hormone therapy resistant breast cancer, while Nina Shah remarked on the surprising benefits of organizations like ASCO such as collaborations and unexpected funding opportunities.

For more detail on presentations by HDFCCC members, download the report.