Three new EORTC clinical trials funded by the EU

Brussels, April 24, 2023 – The European Commission has approved the funding of three new research projects coordinated by EORTC. Thanks to these grants, EORTC will perform three innovative pragmatic clinical trials optimising treatments for patients with refractory cancers starting summer of 2023. Public funding is essential to address clinically relevant questions with no commercial interest that can only be performed by independent organisations.

Today, many drugs enter the market without evidence of their true clinical benefit for patients. There is a need to conduct independent pragmatic clinical trials studying the optimal way to use the drugs in a real-life setting thus improving patients’ quality of life but also the sustainability of healthcare systems.

To this end, EORTC submitted three proposals (DE-ESCALATE, LEGATO and STREXIT2) to the Horizon Europe call for pragmatic clinical trials. Under the leadership of EORTC key opinion leaders, the three funded projects will investigate intermittent treatment or treatments combination in three different cancers such as glioblastoma (M. Preusser, AT), prostate (B. Tombal, BE) and retroperitoneal sarcoma (A Gronchi, IT).

The pragmatic clinical trials will be under EORTC legal sponsorship, supported by EORTC infrastructure and network. Patient representatives are contributing to all clinical trials since study conceptualisation. Health economics research will be implemented across the three clinical trials in a standardised manner.

“Pragmatic clinical trials have the benefit to bring methodological robustness to medically important questions, assessed on clinically relevant end-points, reducing uncertainty for therapeutic progress. They represent a unique real-life approach for patient-centric trials, addressing public health questions. This is central to the EORTC’s mission. Pragmatic trials dedicated to treatment optimisation for all patients must become a high priority for Europe and healthcare systems.”

Says Denis Lacombe, EORTC Chief Executive Officer.

These projects are expected to reduce the so-called efficacy-efficiency gap, defined as the problematic difference between the outcomes generated from trials targeting strictly a selected patient population in highly controlled environments, and those observed in real-world clinical practice. Importantly, these projects will show the value of independent clinical research and the need for more treatment optimisation research in Europe.


The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, which unites clinical cancer research experts, throughout Europe, to define better treatments for cancer patients to prolong survival and improve quality of life. Spanning from translational to large, prospective, multi-centre, phase III clinical trials that evaluate new therapies and treatment strategies as well as patient quality of life, its activities are coordinated from EORTC Headquarters, a unique international clinical research infrastructure, based in Brussels, Belgium.


Stephane Lejeune
Head International Affairs and Policies

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