Euro Ewing Consortium

International Clinical Trials to Improve Survival from Ewing Sarcoma

European Bone Sarcoma Network Meeting, Vienna, September 2015

The EURO EWING Consortium at the 3rd European Bone Sarcoma Network Meeting, Vienna, 24-25 September 2015

The European bone sarcoma networks came together in Vienna for what was an interesting and intensive, inspiring and challenging meeting. Around 70 scientists, oncologists, statisticians, surgeons and patient experts from Europe, Australia and the USA came to present and discuss the current state of bone sarcoma research. There was plenty of time for discussion and a real freedom to ask for opinions and to agree or disagree with colleagues. What came across was a very strong feeling of a European network and an enthusiasm to work out what was the best next approach to improve survival in bone cancer.

It was very clear from the biological studies, that Ewing sarcoma is different from other bone sarcomas, and that different drugs are likely to be needed. To be successful, it was also going to be extremely important to hit the tumour from more than one angle at once rather than give targeted drugs one after the other.

Areas that showed promised were:

  • drugs that targeted immune system signalling in bone
  • the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1 receptor)
  • nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT)
  • miR-10a (a short non-coding RNA gene involved in gene regulation)
  • caveolin 1
  • detection of recurrent Ewing sarcoma by testing for circulating tumour DNA in blood

For the first time, patient experts were given the chance to represent patient and carer views. They encouraged researchers to make sure that trials were open to children and young adults. A need for information was a common theme and we heard that patients don’t recall being told about clinical trials around the time of diagnosis and that trial participants wanted to hear about the results of trials that they have taken part in. The EEC hopes to be able to provide more information on the two trials in the future.

There were two big questions that came out of the talks. (i) Which area of biological research is likely to show most promise for Ewing sarcoma and how can the scientific experts give unified advice to clinicians on which path to follow so that the next phase of clinical trials are focussed on drugs that are likely to have the most benefit? And (ii) How can we overcome the bureaucratic hurdles that make it so difficult and slow to open a clinical trial across multiple countries? The network hopes to meet again in two years’ time and hopefully lots of progress will have been made in deciding where to focus research into Ewing sarcoma and new trials will begin to open.

Read more