Fourth International Conference on Tumor Microenvironment:
Progression, Therapy and Prevention
Florence Italy, March 6-10, 2007

The concept that the tumor microenvironment plays a crucial role in cancer development and especially in its progression is now widely accepted. From less than 20 publications per year with the key word "Tumor Microenvironment" up to 10 years ago, the number of publications with these key words rose, in 2006, to about 220.

The Tumor Microenvironment is a multi-factorial arena in which tumor cells engage in an active cross talk with many different cells and molecules. A comprehensive understanding of the significance of such interplays requires an active interaction between researchers engaged in multidisciplinary Tumor Microenvironment research.

In an effort to promote such interactions, we took it upon ourselves to organize multidisciplinary international conferences on the Tumor Microenvironment. The fourth "Tumor Microenvironment" Conference was held in Florence, Italy, from March 6 to March 10, 2007.

The Florence conference was unique in 3 parameters: first, it was a joint venture between the International Cancer Microenvironment Society and the American Association for Cancer Research; second, it was the largest Tumor Microenvironment Conference ever with over 400 participants from 37 countries participating in the conference; last but not least, young investigators constituted the majority of participants.

The opening session was held at the Palazzo Vecchio. Greetings by Isaac Witz, President, International Cancer Microenvironment Society, by Margaret Foti CEO, American Association for Cancer Research and by Raffaella Giavazzi, President, Italian Cancer Society, were followed by the opening lecture delivered by Alberto Mantovani on "Molecular Links between Inflammation and Cancer". This is a high priority topic, addressed also in a plenary and a symposium session.

The conference was a truly multidisciplinary event at which cutting-edge issues related to the Tumor Microenvironment were approached and discussed in-depth by specialists from a wide spectrum of biomedical sciences. The conference met, in full, the intentions of the organizers to create a friendly forum that promotes a critical review of novel basic findings and of innovative clinical studies pertaining to the cancer microenvironment.

The scientific sessions took place at the Palazzo dei Congressi, a state of the art congress venue. There were 39 plenary lectures in 9 sessions, 58 symposium lectures presented in 7 concurrent sessions and 153 posters. Six posters were selected to be presented in a special plenary poster session. The authors of these posters presented their results and were awarded "best poster" prizes. The full program and the list of plenary and symposium sessions can be found in the program link.

The social program was also very successful. The conference dinner was held at the Palazzo Corsini, one of the most elegant palaces in Florence. The farewell evening was held at Villa la Ferdinanda - Artimino, a short drive from Florence in the Tuscany hills.

You are invited to visit the picture gallery of the Florence conference to obtain some impressions from this successful and fruitful event.

Isaac P. Witz