Session Description

Session descriptions will be added as the information is provided. Please check this page regularly for updated information. For a complete outline of the program, please visit the Program at a Glance page.
Click on the links below to be directed to specific days:


Friday, March 4

Opening Plenary

08:45 – 10:15 (1 hour 30 minutes)

The Patient Experience During COVID-19

Evalyn Allela, Sales Manager, Cipla Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Heidi D. Finnes, Senior Manager Pharmacy Cancer Center Research, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Rochester, US

In this session, we’ll hear from two pharmacists who have experienced not only providing pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic but also navigating the pandemic as a patient with cancer. This session will aim to provide the audience with the patient perspective so that we can better care for patients with cancer.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain challenges that patients with cancer face during COVID-19
  • Recognize steps oncology pharmacists can take to assist patients during the pandemic


Concurrent Sessions

12:15 – 13:00 EST (45  minutes)

Immunotherapy Updates in Solid Tumor Malignancies

Jared Borlagdan, Clinical Oncology Pharmacist, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Portland, USA 

The treatment of solid tumor malignancies has dramatically changed with the introduction of immunotherapy into the treatment armamentarium. This session will aim to review selected updates involving immunotherapy in the treatment of various solid tumor malignancies in the adult patient population since 2020 and the associated practice changing literature published. 

Learning objectives:

  • Review key results of selected publications involving immunotherapy for solid tumor malignancies in the adult patient population
  • Evaluate the role of recent publications in incorporating immunotherapy into changing practice paradigms for solid tumor malignancies
  • Discuss clinical practice pearls from recent publications utilizing immunotherapy for the treatment of solid tumor malignancies

Extravasation Management: Specific Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Measures and Antineoplastic Tissue Risk Classification

María Asunción Albert-Marí, Hospital Universitario y Politecnico La Fe, Spain

Extravasation is an adverse event related with antineoplastic intravenous administration that can lead to necrosis if not timely and properly managed, for vesicant and irritant drugs. Its incidence has been reduced, in peripheral and central accesses, in recent years due to the implementation of preventive measures both patient and technical related, and education and training. The best strategy of its management is prevention, but when extravasation is present a cascade of interdisciplinary actions should be implemented to avoid severe tissue damage. There are different pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic measures recommended in order to prevent further tissue damage, but there is variability between guidelines published by scientific societies or institutions, databases and reference papers, both for the antidotes recommended, the classification of antineoplastic considering the risk of tissue damage, and the specific measures recommended for each antineoplastic drug. In addition, the evidence supporting measures is mostly based on case reports or case series and some important variables that can contribute to the final injury are not included. The Extravasation working group of the Spanish Oncology Pharmacy Group (GEDEFO) has recently reviewed these aspects, and has proposed a classification of antineoplastic drug-induced tissue damage, and has updated the specific measures and proposed a flow-char to be implemented in the event of extravasation. After attending this presentation participant will be able to: 

  • List antineoplastic according to the potential of tissue-damage risk.
  • Describe specific pharmacological and non-pharmacological recommended measures to prevent tissue damage, including dosage, administration and practical remarks
  • Analyze specific measures recommended for each antineoplastic. 
  • Describe an algorithm with the sequence of interdisciplinary actions to be implemented in case of extravasation. 



Saturday, March 5

Plenary Session

08:00 - 09:00 EST (1 hour)

Can immunotherapy contribute to a vision of precision cancer medicine?

Elaine Vickers, Science Communicated Ltd, UK

In this presentation, highly experienced cancer educator, Elaine Vickers PhD, will discuss various topics that underpin precision cancer medicine.

As ever, she will use colourful illustrations and everyday language to explain the concepts involved. 

Precision medicine requires a detailed understanding of the genetic and/or cellular makeup of a patient’s cancer. This information is matched with cancer treatments such as targeted therapies that block growth factor receptors like HER2 or EGFR. 

In contrast, immunotherapy’s goal is to create a cancer-fighting immune response, often by activating the patient’s own white blood cells. However, there’s no guarantee that suitable white blood cells exist, nor that they can be provoked into action.

Dr Vickers will describe what precision medicine means and how it’s done. She will also describe how targeted therapies and immunotherapies can be matched to the characteristics of a patient’s cancer, and when they can’t.
Elaine will also describe the results of various precision medicine trials, highlighting the difficulties involved and summarising their results. 

Lastly, Elaine will describe two trials in which both targeted therapies and immunotherapies have been delivered to patients with the aim of getting the best out of both treatment approaches.

Learning objectives
After the presentation, learners should:

  • Be able to describe what precision medicine means
  • Appreciate the barriers that stand in the way of delivering precision medicine to the majority cancer patients
  • Understand the challenges in using immunotherapy as part of a precision treatment approach
  • Have realistic expectations of what a precision medicine approach can deliver for patients with metastatic cancer when implemented using current treatments
  • Understand how scientists and doctors hope to improve outcomes with both targeted therapies and immunotherapies in the future


Plenary Session

10:30 - 11:30 EST (1 hour)

Getting the dose right in kidney dysfunction - the International Consensus Guideline on Anticancer Drug Dosing in Kidney Dysfunction (ADDIKD) 

Jolanta Małyszko, Poczta Onet, Poland 
Michael Michael, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia 
Geeta Sandhu, Cancer Institute NSW, Australia
Carla Scuderi, Queensland Health, Australia 
Ben Sprangers, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium

With the everchanging treatment landscape and pharmacological complexities of old and new anticancer drugs, dosing in patients with organ dysfunction, such as kidney dysfunction, adds a further clinical challenge in delivering efficacious and safe treatment. In this session we will discuss the approach to assessing kidney function in cancer patients, the development of international consensus guidelines on dose adjustment in kidney dysfunction, their application into clinical practice to provide standardisation and the importance of a nephro-oncology multidisciplinary team approach for this complex patient population.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand the value and limitations of various methods to determine kidney function in cancer patients
  • To describe the three key recommendations from the ADDIKD guideline
  • To encourage the standardisation of kidney function estimation and dose adjustment guidance in kidney dysfunction into clinical practice
  • To consider the value of onco-nephrology teams and the significance of ADDIKD recommendations in other areas of clinical pharmacy


Hot Topic Discussions led by facilitators

11:30-12:30 EST (1 hour)

Defining cytotoxic drugs: you know it when you see it?

Facilitator: Mario de Lemos, Professional Practice Leader of the Provincial Pharmacy division, BC Cancer, Vancouver, Canada

Are the terms ‘antineoplastic’, ‘chemotherapy’ and ‘cytotoxic’ the same? Historically, most antineoplastic drugs were cytotoxic, with a small number of hormonal agents. With the advent of molecularly targeted therapy, ‘cytotoxic’ can no longer be used to describe most antineoplastic drugs. This is particularly important when discussing occupational exposure, where many safe handling procedures were developed based on drugs with cytotoxic mechanisms.  

Confused? In this hot topic session, we will discuss different approaches in defining cytotoxic drugs, and I will share my experience in helping compile a list of antineoplastic cytotoxic drugs at BC Cancer.


Clinical Trials and The Oncology Pharmacist

Facilitator: Garbiñe Lizeaga, Clinical Pharmacist, Hospital Universitario Donostia, San Sebastián, Spain

Clinical research is undoubtedly the most effective tool we have to take care for our patients while always seeking to gain survival and improve quality of life. The characteristics of this research and the role of the oncology pharmacist are as varied as the cancer care realities are through the planet. If we consider the randomized clinical trial at the highest level of evidence, in this hot topic we will try to answer the questions we all ask ourselves about it: What role does the oncology pharmacist play in clinical trials? Is it necessary to separate research from assistance? Is the oncology Pharmacist an active part of the research team? I hope we would be able to share our views and find points in common.


Experiences and Challenges Managing Cancer Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Facilitator: Irene Weru, Head of Clinical Pharmacy, Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya

The Corona Virus of 2019 has changed the way healthcare services are delivered around the world. Oncology pharmacy service delivery have been affected as well. 

During this hot topic discussion, oncology pharmacy practitioners shall share their experiences in provision of oncology pharmacy services during the pandemic, discuss changes in hospital processes and treatment outcomes, and access to medicines including vaccines and other healthcare products and resources. 

Participants will also discuss challenges, lessons learnt and applications for the future as well as share best practices.


What to do when it’s gone…

Facilitator: Tatiana Hales, Alberta Health Services, Canada

Currently, palliative care may be considered as an early intervention for people living with cancer. Patients treated with curative intent are being referred in hopes that symptom burden - including pain, nausea, and constipation - can be minimized. Medications are added and titrated to effect, but what happens when treatment/interventions result in pain and symptom resolution? Patients could be taking opioids and/or multiple adjuvant medications which are no longer required and create risk for adverse effects. 
In this hot topic, we will discuss and share how to guide and reassure these patients to safely taper and/or discontinue unnecessary medications.


Role of pharmacist in outpatient clinics

Facilitator: Ada Cheung, Clinical Pharmacist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Clinical pharmacist plays an important role in delivering care for those living with cancer. Participating in evidence-based care, promoting best-practice medication utilisation, providing patient education as well as undertaking adherence assessment can all improve survival in cancer patients.  Oncology pharmacists are best suited to provide these services but how do we integrate them into clinical practice? In this session I will share my experience in managing outpatient pharmacist clinics, discuss barriers and challenges and possible future collaboration opportunities to expand our role in the ambulatory care setting.


Plenary Session

12:30 – 13:15 EST (1 hour)

Keeping it all in check: immune checkpoint inhibitor dosing

Alison Palumbo, Clinical Oncology Pharmacist, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Portland, USA

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have received licensing for treatment of nearly every cancer.  Since their approval, much of what we know about immune checkpoint inhibitors has evolved and dosing may be quite different from what is what when these medications were originally licensed.  The purpose of this session is to discuss principles to help guide clinicians in dosing immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify pharmacokinetic parameters of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies
  • Describe rationale for extended-interval and flat-dosing of immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Apply immune checkpoint inhibitor dosing principles to a patient case