Newsletter No.1
The International Society of Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis

                                              Number 1, 1997        

Report on the First International Conference of Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis, 1996, Hiroshima, Japan

The First International Conference on Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis (ICGC) was held at the Hiroshima International Conference Center from 22nd (Tues) to the 24th (Thurs) October, 1996 (Organizing Committee Chairman: Dr. Eiichi Tahara, Hiroshima University School of Medicine). Over 600 cancer researchers and oncologists from 28 countries around the world took part in this conference. Research presentations and discussions covered over 400 topics, focusing on the molecular mechanism of the development and progression of gastroenterological cancer, and the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease.



The originator of the First International Conference on Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis, the Japanese Research Society for Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis (President: Dr. Takeshi Oohara, University of Tokyo), was set up in 1989 to pave the way for carcinostasis through the investigation of gastroenterological carcinogenesis based on free expression. The Research Society has held annual meetings, published its own journal titled "Genesis and Progression of Gastroenterological Cancer", and has had some excellent papers published in special issues of "Cancer", the official journal of the American Cancer Society. Based on the achievements of the Research Society, Japan has taken the lead by hosting the first international conference on gastroenterological carcinogenesis, an event that has attracted worldwide attention. The conference is being held in conjunction with the annual International Symposium of the Hiroshima Cancer Seminar (Host: Hiroshima Cancer Seminar Foundation; Chairman: Mr. Hiroshi Yuzaki).

The opening ceremony and keynote lectures of the First International Conference on Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis and the Sixth International Symposium of the Hiroshima Cancer Seminar were held on the first day of the conference 22nd of October. The theme of the Sixth Hiroshima Cancer Seminar was cancer-stromal interaction. Eight speakers from Japan and overseas presented the results of the latest research into "Cancer-stromal Interaction". Among those speaking were Dr. Ricardo Brentani from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Sao Paulo, Dr. David Tarin from the University of Oxford and Dr. Toshio Kuroki from the Showa University Oncology Research Center. Topics included Modulation of cancer phenotype by altered glycosylation, expression of carbohydrate-binding proteins and their glycoconjugates in gastric carcinomas and their modulation by differentiation inducers. The regulation of the interactions between cancer and stromal cells by cytokines, shaping of malignant cells by host factors, invasion and metastasis of gastric carcinomas and matrix metalloproteinases, The signal transduction mediating squamous differentiation, diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer by analysis of anomalous CD44 gene expression, and gene amplification in cancer. The closing remarks on cancer-stromal interaction were made by Dr. Reuben Lotan from the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr.Oohara Photo Dr.Tahara Photo Dr.Beger Photo


Guests at the opening ceremony of the First International Conference on Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis were Mr. Uzan Fujita, Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture (Representative: Dr Hiroki Nakatani, Director General of the Prefectural Welfare and Health Affairs Department), Mr. Takashi Hiraoka, Mayor of Hiroshima, and Dr. Kaoru Abe, President of the National Cancer Center. The opening speech was delivered by the Organizing Committee Chairman, Dr. Tahara, and was followed by greetings from the President, Dr. Oohara, including welcoming and congratulatory addresses by the guests. As the representative of Hiroshima the host city, Hiroshima, the Mayor, Mr. Hiraoka, pointed out the great significance of such a conference being held in Hiroshima, the city of the
atomic bomb, and expressed the hope that the conference would lead to advances in cancer treatment and at the same time make a contribution to world peace.

The opening addresses were followed by two keynote lectures. The first lecture, "Experimental Chemical Carcinogenesis in the Digestive Tract", was presented by Dr. Masaaki Terada, Director of the National Cancer Center Research Institute (for Dr. Takashi Sugimura, President Emeritus of the National Cancer Center). The lecture focused on the generation of gastric and colon cancer in experimental animals using nitroso compounds, carcinogenesis caused by heterocyclic amines from food sources, and genetic abnormalities in the carcinogenesis. Mention was also made of carcinogenesis caused by constituents of green tea growth suppression and the body fluids of the cabbage butterfly.The second lecture by Dr Isaiah Fidler from the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center focused on "Metastatic Potential of Individual Human Cancer". He demonstrated that the metastatic potential of colon cancer cell lines varies depending on differences in cytokine and growth factor expression, and that there is a correlation between bFGF and EGF receptors, expression of the cell adhesion molecule cadherin and metastasis and prognosis in colon cancer patients.

The welcoming reception held at the conference venue was attended by approxinately 250 people, including guests, guest lecturers and general participants. Greetings from the Organizing Committee Chairman, Dr. Tahara, and President, Dr. Oohara, were followed by congratulatory addresses by the Governor, Mr. Fujita, and Dr. Fidler of the University of Texas. Those in attendance were entertained by Dr. Suguru Yonezawa (Kagoshima University) who sang an opera song.

In the plenary lectures on the morning of the second day (October 23 rd),
Dr. Henry Pitot from the University of Wisconsin presented a paper titled "Characterization of the Stages in Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis" in which he outlined phenotypic expression, morphological change and chromosomal and genetic abnormalities in the genesis of liver cancer. In the afternoon session, Dr. Yusuke Nakamura from the Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo presented a paper titled "Isolation of Cancer-Related Genes through Human Genome Analysis". He described three methods used to isolate cancer-related genes and reported on growth factor receptor-related genes, metastasis-related genes and novel genes whose expression is induced by the tumor suppresser gene p53, isolated using each of these methods. The presidential address presented by President Oohara was titled "Histogenesis and Treatment of Gastric and Colonic Cancer". He reported the research findings to date on the importance of regenerative epithelium and intestinal metaplasia in the genesis of gastric cancer and treatment based on histological type, and the importance of the de novo route in the genesis of colon cancer and the biological viewpoint on this.

The conference was then divided up into seven venues where the symposiums, oral presentations and poster sessions were held. The symposiums on October 23rd focused on hepatic, colonic, gastric and pancreatic carcinogenesis. Presentations and discussion covered the results of research in diverse areas, ranging from mechanisms carcinogenesis, including genetic abnormalities, to therapy. Oral presentation topics included experimental carcinogenesis, molecular carcinogenesis, invasion and metastasis, tumor biology, and genetic diagnosis and gene therapy. Discussions during the poster presentations stimulated a particularly lively exchange of views. Luncheon seminars and satellite symposiums were also held, the latter on "Chemotherapy and
Genetic Alternations of Gastrointestinal Cancer" and "Helicobacter Pylori and Gastric Cancer".

Two plenary lectures were held on the third day (October 24th), one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In the first, "TGF-beta Effects in vivo, Clinical Implications", Dr. Harold Moses of Vanderbilt University described the development and differentiation of the mammary glands and breast cancer using an animal model. Dr. Moses used a transgenic mice system to demonstrate the importance of TGF-beta in mammary gland differentiation. By introducing TGF-beta into breast cancer cells using transgenes, he showed that while TGF-beta may suppress cancer development, it can also promote cancer progression. The second lecture by Dr. Enrico Mihich of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute was titled "Immunomodulation and Cancer Therapeutics". He discussed the efficacy and mechanism of combined therapy with Adriamycin and IL2 or TNF-alpha based on knowledge accumulated to date on anticancer drugs and the immune response.

Symposiums were conducted on esophageal, biliary and experimental carcinogenesis.
Presentations and discussion on esophageal and biliary cancer focused on the relationship between
carcinogenesis and oncogenes, tumor suppresser genes, genetic instability and abnormalities in cell
cycle regulators, and epidemiology and treatment. Results obtained from a number of experimental
sutudies were also presented. Oral presentations covered gastrointestinal carcinogenesis, genetic
abnormalities, telomerase, epidemiology, new therapeutic approaches and prevention. Following
the completion of the presentations, the conference was declared at a close by Dr. Tahara, Organizing
Committee Chairman.

A farewell banquet held on the Setonaikai Kisen vessel, the Ginga, and was attended by over 100 people. On board the boat, friendships blossomed as researchers from around the world engaged in frank conversation set against a backdrop formed by the evening sky and the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine floating on the Inland Sea. The three-day conference ended as a great success.

International Conference Center Hiroshima


The purpose of the conference was to avoid looking at the genesis and progression of gastroenterological cancer within the bounds of individual organs (i.e. as stomach or colon cancer, etc.) and instead to encourage participants to form an overall picture of gastrointestinal cancers as
diseases that develop in the same individual, and to use that information in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. It is of enormous significance that oncologists and cancer researchers from around the world have come together to give presentations and hold discussions on leading basic research to help shed light on the mechanism of the genesis of gastrointestinal cancer, with the aim of feeding that knowledge back into the clinical diagnosis and for the treatment of the disease.

It is hoped that the knowledge gained at this conference will be used to provide therapy based on the mechanism behind the genesis and progression of cancer, and that the knowledge will find applications in cancer prevention.

At an International Organizing Committee meeting held during the course of the conference, a decision was made to set up an International Society of Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis. Dr. Tahara was appointed Chairman of the Nominating Committee. The Second International Conference on Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis will be held in Ulm, Germany, in 1998 and the Third International Conference will be held in Oxford, UK, in the year 2000.

”Recent Advances in Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis I”
published as the proceedings of ICGC

by Wataru Yasui
Secretary General of the conference
Hiroshima University School of Medicine