The convergence of art and science in oncology care at ASCO 2024 

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2024 Annual Meeting is one of the main events in the field of oncology. As this important event takes place, we are pleased to present a conversation with Dr. Gemma Bruixola, a remarkable oncologist, specialized in head and neck cancer.  

Her in-depth knowledge and detailed analysis significantly deepen our understanding of the latest trends, advances and obstacles in this relevant field. 


Synergy at international events 

What role do conferences like ASCO play in shaping the future of precision medicine in cancer? 

Conferences like ASCO play a pivotal role in shaping the future of precision medicine in cancer by providing a platform for researchers, clinicians, and industry professionals to share the latest advancements and breakthroughs. They facilitate the exchange of knowledge, foster collaboration, and highlight emerging trends and technologies. By bringing together a diverse group of experts, these conferences help accelerate the translation of research findings into clinical practice, ultimately improving patient outcomes 


Partnership between oncologists and technology 

How do you see the role of AI in medical imaging advancing cancer diagnosis and prognosis, and based on your experience, how does this type of software improve the day-to-day life of an oncologist? 

 Although it is not yet a reality that we can routinely use in the office, AI in medical imaging is set to significantly improve the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer by providing more accurate, consistent and earlier tumor detection. AI algorithms can quickly analyze large volumes of image data, identifying subtle patterns that the human eye may miss. This leads to more accurate assessments of tumor characteristics, which helps formulate personalized treatment plans 

From my point of view, in head and neck cancer it will represent a revolution in the field of radiotherapy, to improve contouring and significantly reduce late toxicities that often remain in the form of sequelae in patients who become long-term survivors and represent a deterioration in their quality of life, and implementation in this field can be a reality in the short-medium term. 

In the more medium-long term, we are very hopeful that AI and radiomics will provide us with decision-making support, offering insights derived from vast data sets that help oncologists make more informed decisions. Additionally, AI can optimize workflows, reduce errors, and improve the overall efficiency of clinical practices. as well as the design and evaluation of clinical trial outcomes. 


Redefining oncology  

How true is it that imaging biomarker-driven approaches are becoming more and more important in oncology? 

These approaches enable non-invasive assessment of tumor biology, providing critical information on tumor behavior, treatment response, and prognosis. Imaging biomarkers can help in the early detection of cancer, monitor disease progression, and evaluate the effectiveness of therapies. As precision medicine continues to evolve, the role of imaging biomarkers in guiding personalized treatment plans and improving patient outcomes is expected to grow, making them an integral part of modern oncology practice.  

It is also of great relevance and is already happening in the early development drug/research area: we will be able to incorporate AI and radiomics into the design phase and the evaluation of clinical trial results. This can improve patient selection and optimize outcomes, and, in my opinion, this approach can make a difference. 


Decision making in cancer care   

Should a precision medicine committee be included in multidisciplinary tumor boards, and what impact do these boards have on cancer treatment management and decision-making processes? 

Yes, without a doubt. These committees bring specialized knowledge in genomics, pharmacology, and personalized treatment strategies, which can significantly enhance the decision-making process. Multidisciplinary tumor boards, comprising oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, and other specialists, ensure a comprehensive evaluation of each case. The inclusion of a precision medicine committee adds a layer of expertise that helps tailor treatments based on the genetic and molecular profile of the tumor, leading to more effective and targeted therapies. This collaborative approach improves treatment management, fosters individualized patient care, and can lead to better clinical outcomes. 


Obstacles to address 

Do you envision any ethical or privacy challenges associated with the use of AI in the field of oncology? 

There are several ethical and privacy challenges associated with the use of AI in oncology. One major concern is the protection of patient data. AI systems require large datasets, often containing sensitive health information, which must be handled with strict confidentiality to prevent unauthorized access and breaches. Ethical considerations also include ensuring that AI algorithms are free from biases that could lead to unequal treatment of patients based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Transparency in how AI algorithms make decisions is crucial to maintain trust among patients and healthcare providers. Additionally, there is the challenge of balancing AI-driven recommendations with clinical judgment, ensuring that human oversight remains a key component of patient care.  

All in all, I am optimistic about this, and I believe that all these difficulties will be able to be overcome by reaching consensus and setting guidelines without too much difficulty. 


Collaboration to reshape oncology practice 

How can oncologists collaborate with AI experts to make the most of this technology in clinical practice?  

We can collaborate by engaging in interdisciplinary teams to provide clinical insights that inform the development of AI tools. As I mentioned before, I think that regular communication and feedback loops between oncologists and AI developers can ensure that the technology addresses real-world clinical needs and challenges. Joint research projects and pilot studies can help in testing and refining AI applications in a clinical setting. Additionally, continuous education and training for oncologists on the capabilities and limitations of AI can enhance their ability to integrate these tools effectively into their practice. Collaboration through professional networks, conferences, and workshops can also foster innovation and the successful adoption of AI in oncology. 


Latest progress and the future of AI in oncology  

What recent advances in AI, particularly in imaging and radiomics, are you most excited about regarding their impact on cancer care? 

I believe we all agree that radiomics is experiencing significant development and that it is a tool that is here to stay in oncology. However, the main advances and those that will most benefit patients when translated into clinical practice are related to the prediction of treatment response and the prediction of toxicities. In this regard, several interesting studies will be presented in the poster session at this year’s ASCO 2024. 


ASCO 2024 is a powerful representation that illustrates the need to drive innovation and set higher standards for patient wellness. Oncologists are precisely at the forefront of transforming the oncology care landscape, and their dedication resonates with our own mission to unleash the full power of AI to improve oncology outcomes.  

Engaging discussions with subject matter experts such as Dr. Gema Bruixola further highlight the impact of AI in oncology, demonstrating its potential to transform healthcare.