After opening with its first full day of virtual programming on October 26, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Scientific Meeting is moving forth with its second day of live-streaming and interactive oral and poster sessions across clinical topics in gastroenterology and hepatology. Of the various abstracts to be presented orally during the Annual Scientific Meeting’s 3-day run, as well as the 500-plus posters that will be made available during the medical meeting, the abstracts and posters that address new and potentially practice-changing insights in gastrointestinal malignancies and the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in this specialty can be expected to be among the most noteworthy presentations at the meeting, according to Uzma D. Siddiqui, MD, FASGE.

“Sessions that highlight malignancies in terms of how to prevent or detect them” represent a priority for attending clinicians, Dr Siddiqui said in an interview with Gastroenterology Advisor. “It’s a matter of how many [gastroenterologists] encounter someone with pancreas [or other GI cancer] and the answer is all of us, so we’re always looking for anything new or helpful that can allow us to either identify patients earlier or even before they develop the cancer.”

For this reason, abstract S0903, to be detailed during Presidential Plenary Session 2 on October 27, can not only be expected to be of relevance but also will encompass findings from a systematic review and pooled comparative analysis that can inform the use of endoscopic submucosal dissection and endoscopic mucosal resection in Barrett esophagus-related early neoplasia. These data will be presented by Saeed Ali, MD.

Similarly, the Noteworthy Oral Papers Plenary Session, to be held at 3:30 PM EST on October 28, is also a significant session due in part to its inclusion of “Colon and Colorectal Cancer Prevention,” which will be moderated by Renee L. Williams, MD, MHPE, FACG. This review is particularly timely as new data trends demonstrate an increase in CRC diagnoses in patients in their 40s.


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“If there are any preventive mechanisms or medications that we can provide [patients], that would be significant,” said Dr Siddiqui, who is associate director of the Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics and director of Endoscopic Ultrasound and Advanced Endoscopy Training at The University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. As efforts to move the needle in this disease setting forge ahead, educational opportunities in colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers are indispensable components of ACG’s 2020 programming, Siddiqui noted.

Schweber et al’s “(S0001) Using Large Sample Real World Data to Study the Progression of Low Risk Pancreatic Cysts: New Onset Diabetes as a Potential Biomarker of Malignant Transformation,” presented during Presidential Plenary Session 1 on ACG’s opening day, represents yet another impactful, malignancy-guided abstract.

“Trying to screen patients who may be at higher risk for progression to any kind of pancreatic cancer continues to be and will always be a [priority] topic until we come up with some good biomarker or imaging,” Dr Siddiqui said. “I think this presentation will be very noteworthy in that regard because we don’t know for sure what to do with all these cysts.” S0001 is presently available on ACG’s virtual platform.

Dr Siddiqui, who notably served as a course director of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s Virtual Endoscopy Course, hosted as part of ACG’s 2020 program on October 23, added that COVID-19 is also a critical focus of the 2020 meeting, which marks the 88th iteration of ACG’s Annual Scientific Meeting. The special keynote address, to be delivered by Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, at 8:15 PM EST on October 28, will cover public health and the COVID-19–specific challenges that the pandemic has introduced in the gastroenterology field. “(S097) Liver Injury Is Associated With Increased Morbidity and Mortality in COVID-19 Patients,” presented by lead author, Mohammad Siddiqui, MD, is another noteworthy presentation in the COVID-19 vein and is currently available via ACG’s virtual meeting platform.

ACG 2020’s focus on COVID-19 anticipates the field’s ongoing and enduring commitment to educating healthcare providers on how to best adapt to the novel respiratory virus and its complexities while learning more about it in real-time, Dr Siddiqui concluded.