Our history


In more than 40 years since its first edition, the International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML) has become the key event for all parties involved in the study and treatment of lymphoid neoplasms worldwide.

Held in Ticino (the southern part of Switzerland) for the first time in 1981 and with an ad hoc Scientific Programme developed by a team of lymphoma specialists, the ICML offers its participants the opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest results from the most significant studies, discussed by internationally recognised haematologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, paediatricians, pathologists and leading researchers.

Organised by the Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), over the decades the congress has secured the cooperation of several world-renowned societies and scientific associations, including the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the International Lymphoma Radiation Oncology Group (ILROG) and the Union for China Lymphoma Investigators (UCLI).

With their support, ICML has evolved over the years in response to the changing activities and needs of both the scientific community and the attendees of the conference. Despite these changes, it has preserved its most distinctive features: its warm and welcoming atmosphere and the opportunity for the entire scientific community to interact and engage in discussion.

To keep up with the accelerating pace of research and to remain a showcase for the most up-to-date data, in 2011 the decision was made to change the conference from a 3-year to a biannual event.

Furthermore, to accommodate the ever-increasing number of participants, it has expanded from the Lugano Convention Centre to the nearby university premises and a temporary marquee built in the adjacent park that houses the overflow and Poster Areas, as well as the Exhibition Area.

The platform developed for the 2021 virtual edition has also been further upgraded, and the digital tools available to both those who cannot be present in Lugano and in-person attendees have been enhanced, allowing scientific content to be accessed interactively.

In addition, the scientific programme has changed and evolved from edition to edition, with the introduction of new types of sessions and more dynamic presentation formats.

The most relevant topics and up-to-date data for both basic and translational research and clinical activity are presented, after being selected with the help of the international panel of experts who assist the organising committee in reviewing the submitted abstracts.

The past editions have led to a number of major advances in the field of lymphomas, including the significant contribution to lymphoma staging, restaging and response assessment during the 11th ICML. The "Lugano classification", developed taking new diagnostic imaging methods (in particular PET) into consideration, has been used all over the world since 2014. Nevertheless, the discussion over a revised and updated Lugano classification resumed during the 17-ICML, in a continous effort to promote the understanding of the medical and scientific community dealing with lymphomas, both in daily practice and in clinical research.