Gastric cancer (i.e. adenocarcinoma) is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide, yet it remains a relatively under-researched and treatment-refractory disease. There are two main types of gastric cancer: intestinal and diffuse. Diffuse-type gastric cancer (DGC) is difficult to detect, often unresponsive to chemotherapy, and has high relapse rates. Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) is a rare cancer syndrome most often caused by germline inactivating mutations in the CDH1 tumour suppressor gene. DGC has been under-researched because advancements could be made more easily by focusing on gastric cancer’s intestinal type, which is associated with H. pylori infection. The sporadic form of DGC is aggressive, disproportionately affects young and female patients, and is increasing in incidence worldwide. CDH1 mutation carriers have a significantly elevated lifetime risk of developing invasive DGC and are known to harbor asymptomatic, microscopic foci of signet ring cell carcinomas starting at a very young age.
Current research in DGC is divided into two main themes: (i) development of new diagnostic and surveillance tools for DGC and HDGC, and (ii) identification of drugs for HDGC chemoprevention and the adjuvant treatment of sporadic DGC. The NIH is uniquely positioned to provide the clinical and translational research background upon which underlying molecular pathways critical for DGC development and progression may be identified. Many experts from the fields of oncology, tumor biology, pathology, genetics, and gastroenterology, who have made major contributions to this area of study, are invited to participate in enhancing our understanding of this deadly disease and identify areas in which to collaborate to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics. The symposium will provide a broad thematic overview of CDH1-driven tumorigenesis, our current understanding of the molecular biology of gastric cancer and share recent developments in the clinical management of diffuse gastric cancer. A portion of the symposium will be dedicated to patient-centered topics, such as participation in clinical trials, and advocacy for hereditary stomach cancer awareness.
Attendance by clinicians, researchers, patients and advocates is encouraged.
The symposium will be virtual.