Solange Peters, MD, PhD, Discusses Key Abstracts Presented at the 2021 ESMO Congress

ESMO’s president, Solange Peters, MD, PhD, discussed a handful of key abstracts presented during the 3 Presidential Symposia sessions at the 2021 ESMO Congress.

CancerNetwork spoke with Solange Peters, MD, PhD, head of the medical oncology service and chair of thoracic oncology in the Oncology Department at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and president of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), about key abstracts that read out at the 2021 ESMO Congress. Several of the trials, including the phase 3 DESTINY-Breast03 trial (NCT03529110), examining the use of fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu) vs trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla; T-DM1) in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, as well as the phase 3 KEYNOTE-826 trial (NCT03635567), which assessed pembrolizumab (Keytruda) plus chemotherapy compared with chemotherapy alone in metastatic cervical cancer.


So, there are 3 Presidential [Symposia], which encompass the definition of practice changing abstracts… We have trastuzumab deruxtecan vs TDM-1 in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer,1 [which is an] amazing trial. We have pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy vs chemotherapy for metastatic cervical cancer2, which is not-so-often observed in big sessions [and is] an amazing trial, too. Very important is the extension of the pembrolizumab indication in the [adjuvant] melanoma setting3, [which was] also presented today.

Tomorrow, we have also 2 breaking news [presentations] in castration-sensitive prostate cancer—one in early and 1 in late disease [with] these new combinations of drugs.4 We have the KRAS inhibitor adagrasib plus cetuximab (Erbitux), which also [has] amazing data in colorectal cancer.5 We [also] have [nivolumab]/chemotherapy in gastric cancer.6


  1. Cortés J, Kim SB, Chung WP, et al. Trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) vs trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in patients (Pts) with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer (mBC): results of the randomized phase III DESTINY-Breast03 study. Presented at: European Society for Medical Oncology Annual Congress 2021; September 16-21, 2021; virtual. Abstract LBA1.
  2. Colombo N, Dubot C, Lorusso D, et al. Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy versus placebo plus chemotherapy for persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer: randomized, double-blind, phase 3 KEYNOTE-826 study. Presented at: 2021 ESMO Congress; September 16-21, 2021; virtual. Abstract LBA2_PR.
  3. Luke JJ, Rutkowski P, Queirolo P, et al. Pembrolizumab versus placebo after complete resection of high-risk stage II melanoma: efficacy and safety results from the KEYNOTE-716 double-blind phase 3 trial. Presented at: 2021 ESMO Congress; September 16-21, 2021; virtual. Abstract LBA3_PR.
  4. Attard G, Brown L, Clarke N, et al. Abiraterone acetate plus prednisolone (AAP) with or without enzalutamide (ENZ) added to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) compared to ADT alone for men with high-risk non-metastatic (M0) prostate cancer (PCa): Combined analysis from two comparisons in the STAMPEDE platform protocol. Presented at: 2021 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress; September 16-21, 2021; virtual. Abstract LBA4.
  5. Mirati Therapeutics announces positive phase 2 topline results for investigational adagrasib in patients with KRAS G12C-mutated advanced non-small cell lung cancer. News release. Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. September 20, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021.
  6. Janjigian YY, Ajani JA, Moehler M, et al. Nivolumab (nivo) plus chemotherapy (chemo) or ipilimumab (ipi) vs chemo as first-line (1L) Treatment for advanced gastric cancer/gastroesophageal junction cancer/esophageal adenocarcinoma (GC/GEJC/EAC): CheckMate 649 study. Presented at: 2021 ESMO Congress; September 16-21, 2021; virtual. LBA7.