Created in 1991, the UCGI group develops research programmes in oncology in various locations of the digestive system (oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, anal canal, liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and neuroendocrine tumours).
This cooperative group brings together French experts from multiple disciplines (oncologists, radiotherapists, surgeons, etc.), who define the research strategy and develop clinical trials in the field of digestive oncology. These clinical trials are managed centrally within Unicancer R&D for their optimal administrative and logistic implementation.
To conduct these clinical trials, the group works actively with many stakeholders in France, such as the cancer centres (centres de lutte contre le cancer – CLCC), public hospitals and other public and private institutions. The UCGI group is also present internationally via projects with establishments or cooperative groups in Europe and North America (CCTG in Canada, GONO in Italy, etc.). In addition, the UCGI group sets up partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry in order to have access to innovative molecules for example.
The UCGI group, the French digestive oncology federation (Fédération Francophone d’Oncologie Digestive – FFCD) and the GERCOR have established a partnership of several years within the intergroup PRODIGE. This strategic alliance brings together the main French academic players in the field of digestive cancers. This intergroup serves to identify and find solutions to the major challenges in this field. The PRODIGE intergroup has been certified since 2013 by the Institut National du Cancer (INCa).
UCGI Board Members
Programme manager in charge of the group
Representatives for the various themes: task force, young people, international relations….
The UCGI group is managed at several levels:
- A UCGI board whose members include the chairwoman of the group, the vice-chairwoman and a Unicancer representative meets monthly to determine the group’s strategic directions. The representatives of the theme committees (International Relations, Training, Translational Research, Task Force, Young People) attend this monthly meeting according to current events.
- A UCGI Steering Committee and a Prodige Scientific Committee bringing together the stakeholders from these different groups meet once a year to discuss the feasibility and non-competition of future trials and projects, to report on inclusions in the studies, to review any problems in ongoing trials (recruitment difficulty, etc.) and to propose future trials and forthcoming projects. Sub-group meetings are organised per tumour location to prepare the committee meetings.
- A hearing of the various PRODIGE sub-groups takes place once a year to review the portfolio of current and future clinical and translation studies, to define together the strategic and priority areas per tumour location and to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each sub-group.
- A PRODIGE coordination committee (CCP) comprising a select number of members from the UNICANCER GI group, from the FFCD and from the GERCOR also meets twice a year to discuss the intergroup’s strategic directions.
- A UCGI Task Force, the objective of which is to create a space for discussion in order to offer and to set up new studies:
- Early: phases (1)-2
- Paucicentric: UCGI +/- PRODIGE centres or selected foreign centres
- With high added value: innovative molecules or combinations, multimodal treatments, innovative statistic design, translational etc. The Task Force members meet 2 to 3 times per year.
The group was created on the initiative of Mr P. Rougier in 1991. The ACCORD (Programme d’Actions Concertées dans les Cancers Colorectaux et Digestifs-programme for tangible actions in colorectal and digestive cancers) group was created in 1998, and became UCGI in 2011. Since June 2005, the FFCD and the UCGI group have met regularly at the joint scientific council meeting.
In January 2006, this partnership was formalised with the signature of the charter for partnerships in digestive oncology research (Charte de Partenariat de Recherche en Oncologie DIGEstive) defining the PRODIGE intergroup, which the GERCOR joined beginning 2017.
The group has set itself the following strategic directions:
- Conduct innovative phase II studies with access to therapies or treatment combinations,
- Set up large scale clinical trials aiming to include a large number of patients (phase II/III randomised) or dedicated to rare situations within the PRODIGE intergroup,
- Define new diagnostic approaches for personalised treatment,
- Develop translational research programmes related to clinical projects.
Flagship projects / clinical trials
Discover clinical trials
PRODIGE 52- UCGI 29 -IROCAS: Phase III, randomised, international trial, comparing mFOLFIRINOX chemotherapy to mFOLFOX gold standard treatment in adjuvant treatment in patients with high risk stage III colon cancer. International trial currently recruiting in 3 countries: France, Canada, Italy and aiming to include 640 patients.
PRODIGE 23-ACCORD 23: : Randomised, multicentric, phase III trial comparing preoperative chemoradiotherapy with neoadjuvant Folfirinox chemotherapy followed by preoperative chemoradiotherapy for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. This study included 461 patients. The results were presented at the 2018 ASCO and showed that neoadjuvant treatment with mFOLFIRINOX combined with radiochemotherapy improved disease-free survival after 3 years. A change in treatment recommendations for these patients is expected. A translational research programme is to be set up to showcase the biological collection associated with this trial.
PRODIGE 24-ACCORD 24: International, phase III, randomised, multicentric trial comparing 6-months adjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine versus mFOLFIRINOX in patients having undergone resection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma and having included 256 patients. The results published in 2018 showed a significant increase in survival in patients treated with the mFOLFIRINOX chemotherapy protocol and this led to a change of practices in this indication. An update of the results with a median 5-year follow-up is expected in 2021. Also, translational research related to this trial is currently ongoing.
Discover UCGI publications
Open intergroup trials with:
- FFCD (PRODIGE partnership)
- GERCOR (PRODIGE partnership)
- Unicancer MED PERSO, IMMUNO-ONCO, UNITRAD, task force GERICO and supportive care, UCGI task force
- SNFGE: Through PRODIGE, participation in the update of recommendations for the treatment of digestive cancer (SNFGE = partner)
- International cooperative groups: CCTG (Canada), GONO (Italy), Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation (UK)
How to join
Any doctors likely to lead a project meeting the specific criteria of the UCGI group can become a member.
- How to put forward a research project
ABCD day (intensive course on the biology of digestive system cancer): day dedicated to the biological aspects of digestive cancers. This day takes place the day before the Journée Scientifique organised by the FFCD, making it a collaborative event within the Prodige intergroup.
ARCADI days (training days for CRAs): aiming to provide information on digestive cancer and clinical trials by the UCGI group. This day is specifically organised for CRAs working on projects by the UCGI group. The objective is to improve knowledge of the different diseases and to thus improve the quality of the group’s research.
Symposium at the journées francophones (JFHOD)
The JFHOD, Journées Francophones d’Hépato-gastroentérologie et d’Oncologie Digestive (French hepatogastroenterology and digestive oncology open days), are the reference French-speaking congresses on digestive diseases and cancers and the second largest European congress on the speciality in terms of attendance. They are organised by the SNFGE, Société Nationale Française de Gastro-Entérologie (French national society of gastroenterology) in collaboration with the FMC-HGE, Association Nationale Française de Formation Continue en Hépato-Gastro-Entérologie (French national body for continuous education in hepatogastroenterology).