AACR Annual Meeting 2021 program showcases hottest topics in basic and translational research

Charles Swanton, FRCP, BSc, PhD, FAACR
Charles Swanton, MBPhD, FAACR

From cutting-edge basic science discoveries to practice-changing translational breakthroughs, the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021 Program Committee has assembled a comprehensive scientific program covering the most up-to-date advances and the hottest topics in cancer research.

“As always, the AACR Annual Meeting will bring together some of the best minds in cancer research and medicine from around the world who will share new and emerging breakthroughs in basic science as well as important results from some of the latest-breaking clinical trials looking at new and improved therapies and treatments in cancer care,” said Program Committee Chair Charles Swanton, MBPhD, FAACR.

Beginning with the daily plenary sessions through dozens of symposia, forums, panel discussions, and minisymposia during Week 1 (April 10-15) and educational sessions and workshops in Week 2 (May 17-21), the virtual Annual Meeting program covers the latest discoveries across the spectrum of cancer research—from population science and prevention; to cancer biology, translational, and clinical studies; to survivorship and advocacy.

Among the many topics Swanton believes will be of particular interest include advances in the understanding of the tumor microbiome, toxicity to immunotherapy, noncoding RNA in cancer progression, sex differences in cancer—both in cancer incidence as well as response to cancer treatment—and ongoing research evaluating multiple liquid biopsy approaches.

AACR President Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, FAACR
AACR President Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, FAACR

“Importantly, the Annual Meeting program not only provides an amazing opportunity to hear about the latest insights and advances in these and other important areas of research, but it’s an invaluable opportunity to interact and to network with colleagues from around the world,” said AACR President Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, FAACR. “By sharing new ideas and fostering new collaborations, we continue to advance the field and bring forward the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics.”

Click here for more information and to register for the AACR Annual Meeting.

The following are some of the sessions scheduled during Week 1 of the Annual Meeting (April 10-15). Check the final program for the most up-to-date information on session topics, dates, and times. Also watch for updates on other sessions, including meet the experts, educational sessions, scientific working group town halls, and methods workshops that will be part of Week 2 of the meeting (May 17-21).


  • AACR-Bayard D. Clarkson Symposium on Stem Cells, Leukemia, and the Niche
  • Advances in Cancer Nanotechnology
  • Alternative DNA Repair Pathways and Their Drug Targets
  • Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Imaging
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning in Cancer Research and Care: Progress and Opportunities
  • Cancer Immunometabolism
  • Colorectal Cancer Interception: Immunologic and Pharmacologic Advances
  • Cytokine Receptors in Immuno-oncology: Discovery, Analysis, and Modulation
  • Deubiquitylating Enzymes as Targets for Cancer Therapy
  • Developing Rational Combinations of Targeted Drugs
  • Diet, Clock, and Cancer
  • Drugging KRAS
  • Engineering and Modulating Natural Killer Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Familial Predisposition: Precision Medicine and Targeted Therapy
  • From ‘Omics Data to Prognostic and Predictive Biomarkers
  • Functional Precision Medicine in Cancer
  • Germline Influence on Immunotherapy Outcomes
  • Implications of Clonal Hematopoiesis in Human Health
  • Improving Therapy through Normalization of the Tumor Microenvironment
  • Innovative Molecular Approaches and Models to Advance Precision Health Equity
  • Matrix, Exosomes, and TME Cells in the Metastatic Niche
  • Mechanisms and Biomarkers of Response and Resistance to Immunotherapy
  • Metabolism and Chromatin Deregulation in Cancer and Cancer Heterogeneity
  • Modeling Metastatic Progression in the Mouse
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Neoadjuvant Immunotherapy for Melanoma and Other Cancers
  • New Approaches to Chimeric Antigen Receptor Engineering
  • New Combinations of Targeted Therapies and Immunotherapies
  • Next Frontiers in Adjuvant Therapy
  • Next-Generation Epigenetic Drugs
  • Options and Opportunities for Treating Metastasis
  • Paracrine Signaling in Cancer
  • Phase Separation, Transcription, and Cancer
  • Progress from Personalized Cancer Vaccine Trials
  • T Cells in Cancer
  • The Cancer Dependency Map
  • The Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium: Building a Proteogenomic Atlas of Cancer
  • The Microbiome in Cancer Therapy: Hype or Hope?
  • The Tumor Microbiome and Its Role in Oncogenesis and Modulating Therapy Response
  • Toward Engineering of Neoantigen-Specific T-Cell Therapies
  • Tumor Cell Plasticity and Resistance to Cancer Therapies
  • Tumor Hypoxia and Genetic Instability: New Mechanisms and New Targets
  • When Is Transforming Growth Factor Beta Targetable?
  • AACR-ASCO Joint Session: Targets in the Treatment of Renal Cell Cancer
  • AACR-CSCO Joint Symposium: Single-Cell Analysis— Changing the Landscape of Cancer Research
  • AACR-JCA Joint Session: Tracking Tumor Evolutionary Dynamics: From Initiation through Metastasis
  • AACR-ONS Special Session: Symptom Science


  • Advances in Drug Delivery
  • Computational Methods for Immunogenomics and Precision Oncology
  • Diagnostic Tests for Immunotherapy: Current CLIA Lab Testing and Future Directions
  • DNA Damage Response (DDR) Treatment: Evolving Diagnostic Approaches, Understanding of Replication Stress, and Resistance Mechanisms to DDR Targeting Therapies
  • Hybrid Technologies for Cancer Imaging, Theranostics, and Image-Guided Interventions
  • Management of Toxicity of Immune Cell Therapy
  • Noninvasive Monitoring of Minimal Residual Disease with Liquid Biopsies: Toward Real-Time Treatment Decision-Making
  • Proton Therapy and FLASH Irradiation
  • Targeting Transcriptional Cyclin-Dependent Kinases in Cancer
  • Translational Canine Models Advancing Immunotherapy and Immunogenomics
  • Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Third Generation EGFR and ALK Inhibitors


  • Advances in Endometrial Cancer
  • Advances in Sarcoma Therapy
  • Developing More Effective Treatments for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
  • Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma
  • Emerging Concepts in Liver Cancer Research
  • Next-Generation Treatments for Melanoma: Building on Success
  • Pathways to Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer
  • Solid Tumor Brain Metastasis
  • Targeting Signaling Pathways in Colorectal Cancer
  • Therapeutic Advances in Biliary Tract Cancers
  • Therapeutic Vulnerabilities and Resistance Mechanisms in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer


  • Connecting the Tumor Microenvironment with the Macroenvironment in Cancer Cachexia
  • Interception of Preneoplasia
  • Molecular Targets of Precision Prevention and Interception
  • Panel on Rural Cancer Control
  • Radiation-Induced Cancers and Cancer Survivorship


  • Carcinogenic Exposures and Global Cancer Prevention
  • Pan-Cancer Distinctions in Tumor Biology across Ethnicity and Genetic Ancestry
  • Precision Medicine in Underserved Populations


  • Are Antitumor T Cells Exhausted or Dysfunctional? Does It Matter?
  • Are There Cancer Stem Cells?
  • Biostatistics Debate: Should Science Be Guided by P-Values?
  • Building Vaccine Confidence: Best Practices to Combat Misinformation and Vaccine Hesitancy in COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Cancer Cell Dormancy: The Current Paradigm and the Challenges Ahead to Develop New Therapies
  • CAR T-Cell Therapy or T-Cell Engager?
  • Data Science and Machine Learning: Will They Revolutionize Cancer Cure and Research?
  • Embracing Entrepreneurship in Cancer Research
  • Microbiome Pandemonium: Checkpoints and the Microbiome
  • Patient-Derived Models for Cancer
  • The Myths and Realities of the Abscopal Effects
  • What Is the Role for Oncolytic Viruses in Cancer Treatment?