The symposium on "Oncology Leadership in Asia" was held as part of the official program of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Korean Cancer Association with International Cancer Conference. Given the increasing incidence of cancer in all countries and regions of Asia, regardless of developmental stage, and also in light of the recognized need for Asian countries to enhance collaboration in cancer prevention, research, treatment and follow-up, the symposium was held with the aim of bringing together oncology specialists from eight countries and regions in Asia to present the status in their own national context and discuss the key challenges and requirements in order to establish a greater Asian presence in the area of cancer control and research. The task of bringing together diverse countries and regions is made all the more urgent in that while Asia now accounts for more than half of all new cancer cases globally, clinical guidelines are based predominantly on practices adopted in Western countries, which may not be optimized for unique ethnic, pharmacogenomic and cultural characteristics in Asia. Recognizing the need for Asia to better gather information and data for the compilation of Asia-specific clinical guidelines, the participants discussed the current status in Asia in the national and regional contexts and identified future steps towards integrated and collaborative initiatives in Asia. A key outcome of the symposium was a proposal to combine and integrate the activities of existing pan-Asian societies, including the Asian Pacific Federation of Organizations for Cancer Research and Control (APFOCC) and Asian Clinical Oncology Society (ACOS). Further proposals included the expansion of pan-Asian society membership to include individuals and the essential need to encourage the participation of young researchers in order to ensure self-sustainability of cancer control efforts in the future.