In memoriam: Prof Francesco Lo Coco

On Sunday, March 3, Prof Francesco Lo Coco, outstanding hematologist, friend and a great man of dialogue, suddenly passed away. This event has struck the hematology community with intense grief.

Francesco Lo Coco is known for his work in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). He is one of the leaders who successfully initiated the treatment of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) patients with arsenic trioxide combined with retinoic acid. He has published over 400 original articles in peer-reviewed international journals. His field of work has significantly contributed to improve patient outcome and provided several important concepts with general implications in the therapy of leukemia and cancer.

Francesco Lo Coco served in several scientific societies and research organizations such as the Italian Society of Experimental Hematology (President, 2000-2002), the Italian Ministry of Health (2001-2003), the American Society of Hematology (various functions, 2008-2015), Fondazione Veronesi (2012-2015), the Associazone Italiana Contro le Leucemie-Linfomi e Mieloma (AIL) and the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC). He also served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2010-2013), Leukemia (1996-2013) and Haematologica (1994-2018).

For the European Hematology Association, Francesco Lo Coco was Chairman of the Education Committee from 2008 to 2013. Over the years he contributed to many activities of the Association, participated in many meetings and his colleagues at EHA got to know him as an active and warm personality. Last year, he was granted the EHA José Carreras award for his outstanding contributions to the research and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Prof Le Coco web3

Prof Francesco Lo Coco received the Jose Carreras Award 2018 from Prof Pieter Sonneveld, EHA President at EHA23 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The José Carreras Award is only one of the distinctions he received throughout his impressive career. He  also received  the International Prize G. Di Guglielmo, awarded by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (1992), the Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (2013), the Sapio Award for Italian Research (Health section, 2014), the Tata Memorial Center Oration, Mumbay, India (2015), the G. Venosta Prize, AIRC (2016) and the P. Stryckmans Memorial Lecture (Belgian Society of Hematology, 2017).

In addition to being an outstanding hematologist, and clinical and innovative investigator, Francesco Lo Coco was a warm personality and great friend. It was an honor and pleasure to work with him. We will miss him sorely. Our sympathy goes to his family and friends.

Pieter Sonneveld, EHA President

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George Dickey, APL survivor, Canada


I am very shocked and saddened to hear of Dr. LoCoco’s passing. He was a life saver for myself and hundreds of others with APL. I was hoping to meet him on my upcoming trip to Italy this summer to thank him in person for his wonderful work. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

Panos Panayiotidis


A great loss for the hematogical community!



The death of Francesco Lo Coco, leaves an unbridgeable gap in the community of hematologists. All those who knew him lost an enlightened colleague,a friend available and rich in humanity

Hari Menon


I am filled with a sense of profound shock to hear about the passing of Prof Lo Coco. Such a wonderful human being, with such humility. Had the pleasure to meet and interact with him on several occasions particularly when he came and delivered that fantastic oration at Tata Memorial like only he can. He was a friend of India. My colleagues and I will miss him sorely. The area of APL will miss his illuminating presence



first of all a friend colleague, then a gentleman, lastly a scientist. A terrible mourning

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