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Lung cancer research key feature of ASCO 23 social media conversation among healthcare professionals, analysis shows

Lung cancer was a significant focus of social media conversation among healthcare professionals (HCPs) at this year’s annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference, analysis has shown. 

Research by digital insights consultancy, Creation Healthcare, found mentions of lung cancer featured in over 9,000 social media posts generated by 2,632 HCPs from across the globe during the period 1 May to 8 June 2023. Of the 9,000 posts, 43 per cent fell between the four days of the conference (2 to 6 June 2023) amounting to 15 per cent of the total ASCO 23 online conversation. 

Of the online HCP lung cancer conversation from 2 to 6 June, over one-third (37 per cent) focused on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), while only four per cent specifically addressed small cell lung cancer (SLC). 

ADAURA trial the most discussed by HCPs at ASCO 2023

Over one third of the HCP lung cancer conversation deliberated over research and data. The most discussed clinical trial was ADAURA, investigating adjuvant osimertinib versus placebo in EGFR-mutated stage IB-IIIA NSCLC. HCPs had mixed sentiment towards the data with some, such as US oncologist Eric Singhi, commending the team for “offering a plain language summary”. 

Others, however, expressed their disappointment that the trial did not use a standard of care control arm with one oncologist, Dr Amol Akhade, stating that “it was painful to see the explanation given on [the] podium” at ASCO 2023.

Another highly discussed clinical trial among HCPs during ASCO was KEYNOTE, investigating Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA in patients with TKI-resistant, EGFR-mutated metastatic, nonsquamous NSCLC. Generally, HCPs appeared underwhelmed regarding both the results as well as decisions on the logistics, such as the pathologic criteria of trial participants.

Other trials discussed online during ASCO 2023 had significantly fewer mentions than ADAURA and KEYNOTE. Despite this, there was a general sentiment of enthusiasm towards the CHRYSALIS, PEOPLE, and LUNAR trials with HCPs expressing an eagerness to see more data on these newly reported trials.

AstraZeneca and MSD were the focus of HCPs during ASCO

Mentions of AstraZeneca and MSD in the context of NSCLC were driven primarily by their clinical trials.

When they weren’t discussing clinical trials, HCPs shared updates on activities occurring within the top pharmaceutical organisations, such as webinars sponsored by AstraZeneca and news news updates.

However, 98 per cent of the conversation on the top five pharmaceutical organisations discussed research and data covered at ASCO. 

Both amplifiers and creators were among the top five HCP voices at ASCO 2023

Both amplifiers (those who shared others’ posts the majority of the time) and creators (those who created original content) were among the top voices in the lung cancer conversation at the event.

Mexican radiation oncologist, Armando Félix Leyva, contributed the largest number of social media posts to the ASCO 2023 lung cancer conversation. However, his posts simply reposted content from his peers’ showcasing research and data presented at the conference. 

The US oncologist, Charu Aggarwal, was also highly active in the online ASCO lung cancer discussion. In contrast to many of her colleagues who also featured heavily in the online conversation, her posts almost exclusively featured original content. 

The top five posts focused on trial data

The five lung cancer posts to achieve the largest global reach over the period of the conference were all clinical trial updates. These posts reached over six million social media users. 

The top 5 posts were:

  1. Eric Topol – ADAURA trial

  2. Eric Topol – ADAURA trial

  3. Vinay Prasad – ADAURA trial

  4. Eric Topol – lung cancer screening

  5. Darren Markland – causes of cancer

Eric Topol from the US shared three of the top five posts, sharing his enthusiasm about trial results with his almost 700,000 followers on Twitter, each including a visual such as an article link or an image of the data released.

Commenting on the analysis, Hannah Ghinn, data analyst for CREATION said: 

“Our analysis of the global healthcare professionals lung cancer conversation surrounding the ASCO 2023 conference offers valuable insight into how topics appealed to those participating in the conference. It also offers insight into the HCPs leading, originating, and amplifying the conversation around key topics. 

“From a pharma perspective, this research offers key lessons.

“First, it shows the importance of understanding what HCPs are thinking about your data. Don’t shy away from negative comments, as those are good insights too and could even be a conversation starter if you want to get in touch with individual HCPs.

“Secondly, taking the ADAURA trial as an example, HCPs liked the plain language summary but were questioning the control arm and were unhappy about the explanation on the podium. AstraZeneca has the opportunity to address some of those concerns raised by HCPs. Similar to an “Ask the Expert” session, we have seen pharmaceutical companies hosting TweetChats on specific clinical trial data to engage the HCP community and give them an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. 

“Finally, make sure to track those HCP conversations on an ongoing basis, not only over congress and when important trial updates happen. If you start from when you announce a new drug candidate, understanding the HCP voice can inform your brand vision and strategy.

“If you would like to learn more about understanding, engaging and tracking the views and needs of HCPs online then please do get in touch, we’d love to chat.”

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Last Updated: 22-Aug-2023