The annual meeting of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), held in Liverpool, UK, has a solid reputation of being a multidisciplinary conference. It brings the diverse cancer interests of the United Kingdom together, from funders to researchers to clinicians. Key themes for the coming year’s innovation emerge. At this meeting, particularly notable topics were immunotherapy and prevention, with sessions on Big Data and e-cigarettes generating significant interest and discussion. Broad themes included discussions around cancer evolution, and the economic challenges of the United Kingdom’s cancer burden.