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ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award


The prestigious ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2006 to recognise international research by individuals, teams and organisations that demonstrated commitment to clinical cancer research and/or education. It is awarded as a recognition for outstanding lifetime achievements in oncology.

2021 – Alex A. Adjei, USA


The 2021 ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Prof. Alex Adjei from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA, for his lifelong achievements in drug development, focusing on evaluating mechanisms of drug action and synergistic drug combinations in the laboratory, while performing phase I clinical trials in the clinic.

In an interview published in the ESMO Daily Reporter he reflects on experiences from a career in early-phase trials and how technology has stimulated oncology drug development.

Previous recipients of the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Nadia Harbeck, Germany (2020)
  • Angelo Di Leo, Italy (2019)
  • Tony Mok, Hong Kong (2018)
  • José Baselga, USA (2017)
  • Richard Peto, United Kingdom (2016)
  • Nagahiro Saijo, Japan (2015)
  • Peter Boyle, France (2014)
  • Franco Cavalli, Switzerland (2013)
  • European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Belgium (2012)
  • Hans Jörg Senn, Switzerland (2011)
  • Alan H. Calvert, United Kingdom (2010)
  • Alan Ashworth, United Kingdom (2009)
  • Emili Montserrat, Spain (2008)
  • Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) (2007)
  • Breast International Group (BIG) (2006)

Nomination and selection process

Nominations may be made by any ESMO member (except undergraduate medical or science student members). Candidates may not nominate themselves.

Candidate eligibility criteria

  • Be an internationally recognised individual, team or organisation in any relevant discipline in the field of oncology
  • Demonstrate an affiliation to a major academic or cancer research / treatment institution(s)
  • Possess an international reputation and demonstrated lifetime commitment to clinical cancer research and/or education
  • Be renowned for their outstanding achievements carried out in clinical cancer research and/or education
  • Have published results on cancer research topics in highly cited peer-reviewed journals
  • Have not previously received the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Not be a current or recent (last two years) member of either the ESMO Executive BoardESMO Council or the ESMO Nomination Committee

Final selection is made by the Selection Committee: ESMO President, ESMO President-Elect, ESMO Past-President, Chair of the ESMO Nomination Committee.

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