Dear members, colleagues and friends,

Welcome to another edition of the ILCA e-Newsletter.

Below, you will find our regular update on the association and some of the latest research and important development in liver cancer science.

A definite highlight for this edition is the 14th ILCA Annual Conference that took place virtually in September, which was another key meeting to remember by its inspiring debates and knowledge exchanges between colleagues around liver cancer science and care.

Available for you in this newsletter are the latest scientific articles selected by liver cancer specialists and the latest ILCA news.

Liver Cancer Awareness Month is a global initiative working to raise understanding of this devastating disease and educate us about the signs and symptoms. Therefore, we created a page on our official website where you can learn more and start a conversation to raise awareness now. Please visit the page here.

Enjoy reading this newsletter!

Yours sincerely,

The ILCA Governing Board
President Bruno Sangro (Spain)
Executive Secretary Augusto Villanueva (USA)
Treasurer Tim Meyer (USA)
President Elect Jessica Zucman-Rossi (France)

Sasan Roayaie (USA)
Laura Kulik (USA)
Jeong Min Lee (Republic of Korea)
Amit Singal (USA)
Eric Vibert (France)
Tim Meyer (UK)
Amaia Lujambio (USA)
Michiie Sakamoto (Japan)
Jean-Charles Nault (France)
R. Kate Kelley (USA)

Message from the President

Prof. Bruno Sangro, MD, PhD
Director of the Liver Unit at Clínica Universidad de Navarra
ILCA President

Dear colleagues,

Only a few weeks ago we were forced to have our 14th ILCA Annual Conference as a virtual event. Something nobody could imagine when we last met face to face in Chicago last year. Nevertheless, I think we all had the perception that it was great having the opportunity to learn and exchange opinions and information on liver cancer for a few days. With 700 registrations and nearly 200 abstracts submitted, we can proudly say that ILCA 2020 was a great success. Advances in all the aspects of the understanding and management of liver tumors were presented, from liquid biopsy to surgical therapy of cholangiocarcinoma or combination therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma. Relevant translational research and the first release of data from important clinical trials. And for the first time, we covered aspects of patient care that go beyond anticancer therapy. Now, the virtual platform we have the chance to listen to the presentations and symposia we had no time to attend in September and this is a great opportunity that we should exploit in the coming years.

ILCA leadership was partially renewed during the conference. I would like to honor and thank Morris Sherman and Joong-Won Park for all their hard work at ILCA over the years, we owe you a lot. Jessica Zucman-Rossi is the new President Elect and this is great news given her outstanding work as Secretary General in the past. Tim Meyer has also joined the Executive Committee as ILCA Treasurer.

With enhanced enthusiasm we have started to work on the program for ILCA 2021 Annual Conference, expecting that there will be a chance to have some – hopefully a lot of- opportunities to meet in person, but considering that we should take advantage of the opportunities to engage people virtually and expand our community. We are all learning to become digital and will welcome any comments from our members to help improve this and other ILCA events.

In December, the team in Paris has prepared a truly outstanding program for the ILCA School of Liver Cancer. Being this time run as a virtual event, I am sure you will not regret attending this ILCA activity.

While the Coronavirus pandemic is still disrupting our daily life around the globe, I would like to renew my message of closeness to our members that may be suffering. I wish you well in keeping yourselves, your families and your patients safe, and look forward to your support to ILCA.

Bruno Sangro
Director of the Liver Unit at Clínica Universidad de Navarra
ILCA President

Latest News in Liver Cancer Science

Liver metastases of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma: implications for a potential new staging system

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) with liver metastases (LM) are perceived to have a poor prognosis but the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) classifies them as early stage in the absence of lymph nodes or extrahepatic spread. This collaborative study including 574 and 4,171 patients from the ENS-CCA and SEER registries confirms that iCCA LM have a significant worse prognosis than other early stages and the authors suggest a novel “M1a stage” defined as liver metastasis: multiple liver lesions, with or without vascular invasion”

(Lamarca A, Santos-Laso A et al. Hepatology.18 October 2020)

Liver Resection Versus Local Ablation Therapies for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Within the Milan Criteria: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis

Systematic Review and Meta-analysis that reviewed a total of 7 RCTs and 18 matched NRTs, involving 2865 patients in the LR group and 2764 patients in the local ablation therapy group [RFA, MWA, RFA plus trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE)], were included. Although there was no significant difference in OS between LR and RFA, LR showed a significantly better 5-year RFS than RFA in the analysis of RCTs (hazards ratio: 0.75; 95% confidence interval: 0.62-0.92; P = 0.006). The RFA group showed a significantly higher local recurrence than the LR group in both analyses of RCTs and NRTs. Additionally, the LR group showed better OS and RFS than the MWA or RFA plus TACE groups.

(Seong Wook Shin et al. – Wolters Kluwer Health, 14 October 2020)
Proton beam radiotherapy versus radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of small hepatocellular carcinoma

This monocentric non-inferiority randomized controlled trial has compared proton beam radiotherapy (72 patients) and radiofrequency ablation (72 patients) for the treatment of uni or bifocal HCC of less than 3 cm. Proton beam radiotherapy was non-inferior in term of percentages of local progression-free survival at 2 years compared to radiofrequency ablation. An external multicentric validation of these results are required.

(Tae Hyun Kim et al. – J Hepatol, 5 October 2020)

Serum IL6 as a Prognostic Biomarker and IL6R as a Therapeutic Target in Biliary Tract Cancers

As biliary tract cancer (BTC) patients typically survive less than one year on standard-of-care chemotherapy, adapting prognostic biomarkers to guide their management remains challenging. Høgdall et al. measured 1590 serum IL-6, YKL-40, and CA19-9 samples before and during chemotherapy in 452 advanced BTC patients. While all markers provided variable prognostic information prior to treatment, longitudinal analysis of IL-6 was superior in predicting death during treatment. Blocking IL-6 signalling with tocilizumab (IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody) significantly increased response to gemcitabine in a mouse model of human BTC. Thus, the IL-6 axis may be prognostically informative and therapeutically attractive in this rare patient demographic.

(Høgdall D et al. – Clin Cancer Res, 15 September 2020)



Our mission:

“To lead a global Community of physicians, scientists and allied professionals through education and research with the goal to better prevent and treat liver cancer”

ILCA Governing Board announcements

ILCA warmly welcomes its first female president Jessica Zucman-Rossi. We would also like to welcome our new Treasurer, Tim Meyer, and ILCA Governing Board Member, R. Kate Kelley, replacing Joong-Won Park.


Jessica Zucman-Rossi, MD, PhD (France)
President Elect
Jessica Zucman-Rossi is Professor of Medicine at University Paris Descartes, within the depatment of Oncology at the European Hospital Geaorges Pompidou (AP-HP). She leads an INSERM laboratory in “Functional Genomics of Solid Tumors”, with a focus on liver, mesothelial and renal tumors. Her team aims to develop basic genomic approaches based on human tumors analyses to identify new mechanisms of tumorigenesis and to transfer this knowledge into biomarkers that could be introduced in clinical care. In particular, the group was pioneer in the elucidation of the molecular classification of benign and malignant liver tumors.

Tim Meyer, MD, PhD (USA)
Tim Meyer is Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at the UCL Cancer Institute and Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Royal Free Hospital. He is Director of the UCL Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and Lead for the Hepatocellular Cancer Service at the Royal Free. He is Secretary of HCC UK, a member of the NCRI Hepatobiliary subgroup and Chair of the International Liver Cancer Association Education Committee.

R. Kate Kelley, MD (USA)
Governing Board Member
R. Kate Kelley is a gastrointestinal oncologist who treats liver cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma; bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma); gastric cancer; esophageal cancer; anal, colon and rectal cancer; pancreatic cancer; and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Kelley’s research interests include developing clinical trials to identify new treatments for gastrointestinal malignancies, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma and bile duct cancer.

ILCA School of Liver Cancer 

ILCA is very pleased to announce that the next edition of the ILCA School of Liver Cancer will be virtual this December 2020.

The ILCA School provides fellows in gastroenterology, hepatology, basics/transitional researchers and other liver cancer-related professionals an opportunity to enhance their scientific experience by attending a multidisciplinary programme delivered by the most eminent international liver cancer specialists.

Sign today and join to get the deepest knowledge on:

  • Understanding the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma and how to translate this knowledge in clinical practice
  • Knowing the effect of antiviral treatment on the natural history of HCC
  • Understanding the place of curative treatments (transplantation, resection and ablation) in management of early HCC
  • Describing how radiology could help for the diagnosis and the assessment of the radiological response of HCC
  • Defining the role of pathology in HCC management
  • Discussing  the evidence about SIRT and tyrosine kinase inhibitors in advanced HCC

Register now!



ILCA Annual Conference #ILCA20Virtual 

ILCA warmly thank all delegates, speakers, session chairs, workshop leaders, abstract presenters, exhibitors, sponsors and other partners for their contribution and for making this meeting another great success.

2020 Statistics


Over 700 delegates came from 42 different countries.

The five largest participant nations by delegates at ILCA 2020 were the United StatesChina, SpainColombia & France!


Congratulations to the 4 Junior Investigator Award 2020 winners

ILCA recognised the extraordinary achievements in liver cancer research of the four following junior investigators at ILCA 2020 Virtual Conference.

Dr. Lijuan Lui (best Clinical Top-scored Poster)
Dr. Liangqing Dong (best Basic Top-scored Poster)
Dr. Monika Lewinska (best Basic/Translational Oral Presentation)
Dr. Helena Degroote (best Clinical Oral Presentation)

ILCA 2020 Virtual content is still available

All ILCA 2020 Virtual Conference content, along with the industry symposia, is available for up to 12 months to all registered participants on the digital platform.

Navigate through the scientific resources, presentations, Q&A sessions, e-poster presentations and more.


Join ILCA or renew your membership today online
Your membership is essential to support ILCA’s initiatives and to help achieve its goal to better prevent and treat liver cancer.

  • Participate in ILCA educational events at a preferred rate
  • Access the latest information on liver cancer-related news and initiatives
  • Get involved in association affairs and ILCA Committees
  • Benefit from grants to support your research and enhance your career

Related Organisations

ILCA proudly acknowledges and thanks to the following organisations for their partnership and support in 2020.