Aims & mission

The aims of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) are to develop, conduct, coordinate, and stimulate translational and clinical research in Europe to improve the management of cancer and related problems by increasing survival but also patient quality of life. Extensive and comprehensive research in this wide field is often beyond the means of individual European hospitals and can be best accomplished through the multidisciplinary multinational efforts of basic scientists and clinicians.

The ultimate goal of the EORTC is to improve the standard of cancer treatment through the testing of more effective therapeutic strategies based on drugs, surgery and/or radiotherapy that are already in use. The EORTC also contributes to the development of new drugs and other innovative approaches in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry. This is accomplished mainly by conducting large, multicenter, prospective, randomized, phase III clinical trials. In this way, the EORTC facilitates the passage of experimental discoveries into state of the art treatments.

Through translational and clinical research, the EORTC offers an integrated approach to drug development, drug evaluation programs and medical practices.

EORTC Headquarters, a unique pan European clinical research infrastructure, is based in Brussels, Belgium, from where its various activities are coordinated and run.

The EORTC is both multinational and multidisciplinary, and the EORTC Network comprises over 600 hospitals and cancer centers in over 37 countries which include some 4,600 collaborators from all disciplines involved in cancer treatment and research.

The 190 members of the EORTC Headquarters staff handle some 6,000 new patients enrolled each year in cancer clinical trials, approximately 46 protocols that are permanently open to patient entry, over 23,000 patients who are in follow-up, and a database of more than 190,000 patients.

Intergroup collaboration is also promoted to face current challenges of clinical trials aiming at targeted therapies in order to recruit a large number of patients within a reasonable period of time.


The EORTC was founded as an international organization under Belgian law in 1962 by eminent oncologists working in the main cancer research institutes of the EU countries and Switzerland. It was named the Groupe Européen de Chimiothérapie Anticancéreuse (GECA) and became the EORTC in 1968.

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