Archive for year: 2015

Should radiotherapy be a routine added-treatment for patients with N0,N+ non-metastatic prostate cancer on hormonal therapy?

ISTOnce again we are approaching the end of another productive year in urological research. The final meeting of the year of the International Urology Journal Club #urojc was held from Monday December 7th to Wednesday December 8th AEDT. This month’s topic was a recent paper published in @JAMAOnc by the well-known STAMPEDE group.

In this new analysis of the STAMPEDE trial, the subject was the control arm. The trial’s definitive primary outcome was to evaluate the overall survival when adding radiotherapy (RT) to the cohort of N0 and N+ M0 high risk prostate cancer patients receiving hormonal therapy. The intermediate primary outcome was the failure-free survival (FFS), which was defined as biochemical failure, progression (locally, lymph nodes, or distant metastases) or death from prostate cancer.

The first comments of the discussion were about the satisfaction of a new study evaluating the beneficial effect of RT in addition to ADT in N+M0 disease. For the N0M0 Sub-cohort, 2 year survival was 97% (95% CI, 93%-99%), and 84% (95% CI, 74%-91%) were still alive after 5 years. On the other hand, for the N+M0 sub-cohort, 2 year survival was 93% (95% CI, 88%-96%), and 71% (95% CI, 56%-82%) were still alive after 5 years.

FFS was better with received RT in both groups: In the N0M0 sub-cohort the adjusted HR was 0.25 (95% CI, 0.13-0.49) with 2 year FFS of 96% (95% CI, 90%-98%) in patients receiving RT compared with 73% (95% CI, 57%-84%) in those not reporting RT (Figure). In the N+M0 the results were similar, with an adjusted HR of 0.35 (95% CI, 0.19-0.65), and a 2-year FFS of 89% (95% CI, 77%-94%) and 64% (95% CI, 51%-75%), respectively.

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Since this approach to high-risk N0,+ M0 disease is not a standard of treatment, there were some concerns about urologist opinions, and mainly, about the side-effects of pelvic radiation.

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This trial showed the adverse effects associated with RT, split by N0M0 and N+M0. The majority (78%) of N+M0 received conventionally fractionated RT to prostate and pelvis, and of the N0M0, 46% received it only to prostate and 42% to prostate and pelvis. The reported adverse effects were similar for patients with and without nodal involvement, with no grade 4 or 5 adverse effects reported.

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Another question during the discussion was about the control group and the different baseline characteristics of the patients if comparing to other countries (mainly previous surgery).

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Most urologists conclude that this information contributes to the growing evidence of the different modalities of treatment that should be offered to patients with prostate cancer. Every urologist focused on the importance of determining the risk and stage of the patient to give an appropriate treatment. They also mentioned how these results correlate with other treatment outcomes.

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The previous published trials about the subject conclude that this combination reduces the risk of prostate cancer death; however, the population of those studies varies. Most patients were low-risk N0M0 prostate cancer and none were N+M0.

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Other thoughts were shared, such as the usefulness of ADT for high-risk M0 prostate cancer, the prostate cancer stage and its relation to treatment response, and the needed collaboration of other specialties for study trials.

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We still have to remember that the study has some limitations, though: The study population is drawn from a control arm of a clinical trial. There is no randomization of patients, and those planned for radiotherapy were the ones considered fit for it, so there might be an overestimated benefit biased by a better prognosis.

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Indeed this is not the last of the STAMPEDE trials. One of the authors, @Prof_Nick_James mentioned redoing analysis of all the arms to evaluate more parameters about the outcomes of the different treatments.

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This topic raises many questions about the treatment approaches to high-risk prostate cancer. As the authors expressed “There is a need for randomized clinical trials within the N+M0 population to address questions prospectively”. So far the results shown seem to be of benefit, and support the routine use of radiotherapy in patients with N+M0 prostate cancer. But as usual, we always need more proof.

This is the last meeting of 2015, so I have to finish this summary with a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016” to all the Urological twitter family!

 

Irela Soto Troya is a urologist born and trained in the Republic of Panama, and is a Fellow at Severance Hospital/Yonsei Medical Health System, Seoul, South Korea.
Twitter @irela_soto

 

 

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Article of the Week: Comparison of systematic transrectal biopsy to transperineal MRI/(US)-fusion biopsy for the diagnosis of prostate cancer

Every Week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Dr. Angelika Borkowetz, discussing her paper. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Comparison of systematic transrectal biopsy to transperineal MRI/ultrasound-fusion biopsy for the diagnosis of prostate cancer

Angelika Borkowetz, Ivan Platzek*, Marieta Toma, Michael Laniado*, Gustavo Baretton†, Michael Froehner, Rainer Koch, Manfred Wirth and Stefan Zastrow

 

Department of Urology, *Department of Radiology and Interventional Radiology, Department of Pathology, and Institution of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Technische Universitat, Dresden, Germany

 

Read the full article
OBJECTIVES

To compare targeted, transperineal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/ultrasound (US)-fusion biopsy to systematic transrectal biopsy in patients with previous negative or first prostate biopsy and to evaluate the gain in diagnostic information with systematic biopsies in addition to targeted MRI/US-fusion biopsies.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

In all, 263 consecutive patients with suspicion of prostate cancer were investigated. All patients were evaluated by 3-T multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) applying the European Society of Urogenital Radiology criteria. All patients underwent MRI/US-fusion biopsy transperineally (mean nine cores) and additionally a systematic transrectal biopsy (mean 12 cores).

RESULTS

In all, 195 patients underwent repeat biopsy and 68 patients underwent first biopsy. The median age was 66 years, median PSA level was 8.3 ng/mL and median prostate volume was 50 mL. Overall, the prostate cancer detection rate was 52% (137/263). MRI/US-fusion biopsy detected significantly more cancer than systematic prostate biopsy (44% [116/263] vs 35% [91/263]; P = 0.002). In repeat biopsy, the detection rate was 44% (85/195) in targeted and 32% (62/195) in systematic biopsy (P = 0.002). In first biopsy, the detection rate was 46% (31/68) in targeted and 43% (29/68) in systematic biopsy (P = 0.527). In all, 80% (110/137) of biopsy confirmed prostate cancers were clinically significant. For the upgrading of Gleason score, 44% (32/72) more clinically significant prostate cancer was detected by using additional targeted biopsy than by systematic biopsy alone. Conversely, 12% (10/94) more clinically significant cancer was found by systematic biopsy additionally to targeted biopsy.

CONCLUSIONS

MRI/US-fusion biopsy was associated with a higher detection rate of clinically significant prostate cancer while taking fewer cores, especially in patients with prior negative biopsy. Due to a high portion of additional tumours with Gleason score ≥7 detected in addition to targeted biopsy, systematic biopsy should still be performed additionally to targeted biopsy.

Read more articles of the week

Editorial: Are men who are biopsied without prior prostate magnetic resonance imaging getting substandard care?

The article by Borkowetz et al. [1], published in this issue, by a multi-disciplinary group from Dresden who have been offering MRI to their patients since 2012, would suggest so. In their hands, an image-guided biopsy resulted in 29 patients with Gleason scores of 7 or 8 being identified, who had been overlooked by an optimised 12-core systematic biopsy taken at the same sitting. Dedicating a minimum of two cores to a ‘target’ conferred an increase in detection of clinically significant prostate cancer, as defined by Gleason pattern ≥4, of 43% compared with systematic biopsy alone.

There is reason to think that, if anything, this might be an underestimate of the utility of sampling a target of high propensity for clinically significant prostate cancer vs a strategy that tries to spread the needle around the posterior limits of the gland. The reason for this is that the operator was aware of the location of the target during the systematic biopsy, as these were done after the targeted biopsy. The resulting incorporation bias should not trouble us too much, as its effect will be to make systematic biopsy ‘better’ and therefore diminish any difference between the two strategies. The fact that the patients had their systematic biopsy under anaesthesia and were in lithotomy (non-standard conditions) might add further to both bias and direction.

This study [1], like many before, incorporates a mixed population that comprises men who were biopsy-naïve (around one-quarter of the population) and those men who had undergone at least one previous biopsy. Again, this probably does not matter for our purposes, as the two groups were identical for overall cancer detection (52%) and very similar in terms of the proportion of patients with Gleason pattern ≥4 (80% for biopsy-naïve men vs 72% for those who had undergone a previous biopsy). The two groups had a similar number of lesions, around two lesions/subject were declared. The two groups did differ in PSA level; men undergoing repeat biopsy had a median PSA level twice that of men having a biopsy for the first time (12.2 vs 6.1 μg/L).

These results appear to be consistent with those summarised in a recent systematic review of studies that compared a targeted sampling strategy with another [2], but they do differ substantially from a recent study of >1000 biopsy-naïve men who were randomised to MRI vs a standard systematic TRUS biopsy approach [3]. In this large randomised controlled trial from Rome, the overall detection rate in MRI-positive individuals who underwent targeted sampling was 93% (410/440) vs the 52% (137/263) achieved in this study [1].

Both studies show higher detection rates compared with a standard systematic approach, and both show that targeting increases the proportion of men with clinically significant disease. However, exploring the differences between the studies might provide us with insight on how best to refine this new intervention. At present, the detection rate of clinically significant cancer (the generally agreed desired outcome of a biopsy when clinically significant disease is indeed present) is contingent on several variables [4]. They comprise the following: the population sampled; the target condition employed (definition of clinical significance); quality of the imaging; quality of the reporting; the threshold used for declaring a ‘lesion’ a target; the accuracy of the needle placement; the number of cores deployed to the target; and the efficiency of tissue capture. All these differed between the two studies, either explicitly or implicitly.

However, it is likely that the one with the greatest influence on the outcome is the level of certainty attributed to the lesion by the radiologist. There are several scales currently in use and this study used the Prostate Imaging Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS), which comprises an ordinal scale, range 1–5, derived from conditions being either met or unmet [5]. Ideally, a risk stratification system should influence clinical practice. A PI-RADS score of 1–2 should result in avoidance of a biopsy, because of the low probability of finding clinically significant disease. A PI-RADS score of 4–5 should result in a targeted biopsy, because of the high probability of underlying clinically significant disease. A PI-RADS 3 score should prompt a repeat assessment after a given interval, reflecting the indeterminate nature of the prediction.

In the study by Borkowetz et al. [1], PI-RADS scores of 2 and 3 were both associated with a 10% rate of Gleason pattern ≥4, suggesting poor discriminant ability between the two. On the other hand, PI-RADS scores of 4 and 5 were associated with a 24% and 60% detection rate, respectively, of Gleason pattern ≥4. From this we can say that lesions with PI-RADS scores of 4–5 should be targeted, are positively associated with risk, and will confer a high targeting yield. I think we can also say that more work is needed in relation to the inputs that generate PI-RADS 2–3 scores. This, fortunately, is in hand, as a new version of PI-RADS is soon to replace the one used in this article. Hopefully, it will improve the discriminant quality at the lower limits of PI-RADS and, as a result, should allow us to avoid incorporating a PI-RADS score of 2 into our targeting schedule.

Despite issues with the finessing of PI-RADS and other scoring systems, a task that will never be fully complete, this study adds to the burden of proof. What we can say, quite emphatically (based on this study, the systematic review and other studies published since), is that if patients want to maximise the chances of finding clinically significant prostate cancer, if it is indeed present, they should insist on an MRI before biopsy, so that targeting can be incorporated into the sampling strategy. To do otherwise would, according to this study, just about halve the chances of detecting clinically significant prostate cancer, if it were present.

Read the full article
Mark Emberton
UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, UCL, London, UK

 

References

 

 

Video: Comparison of systematic transrectal biopsy to transperineal MRI/(US)-fusion biopsy for the diagnosis of prostate cancer

Comparison of systematic transrectal biopsy to transperineal MRI/ultrasound-fusion biopsy for the diagnosis of prostate cancer

Angelika Borkowetz, Ivan Platzek*, Marieta Toma, Michael Laniado*, Gustavo Baretton†, Michael Froehner, Rainer Koch, Manfred Wirth and Stefan Zastrow

 

Department of Urology, *Department of Radiology and Interventional Radiology, Department of Pathology, and Institution of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Technische Universitat, Dresden, Germany

 

Read the full article
OBJECTIVES

To compare targeted, transperineal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/ultrasound (US)-fusion biopsy to systematic transrectal biopsy in patients with previous negative or first prostate biopsy and to evaluate the gain in diagnostic information with systematic biopsies in addition to targeted MRI/US-fusion biopsies.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

In all, 263 consecutive patients with suspicion of prostate cancer were investigated. All patients were evaluated by 3-T multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) applying the European Society of Urogenital Radiology criteria. All patients underwent MRI/US-fusion biopsy transperineally (mean nine cores) and additionally a systematic transrectal biopsy (mean 12 cores).

RESULTS

In all, 195 patients underwent repeat biopsy and 68 patients underwent first biopsy. The median age was 66 years, median PSA level was 8.3 ng/mL and median prostate volume was 50 mL. Overall, the prostate cancer detection rate was 52% (137/263). MRI/US-fusion biopsy detected significantly more cancer than systematic prostate biopsy (44% [116/263] vs 35% [91/263]; P = 0.002). In repeat biopsy, the detection rate was 44% (85/195) in targeted and 32% (62/195) in systematic biopsy (P = 0.002). In first biopsy, the detection rate was 46% (31/68) in targeted and 43% (29/68) in systematic biopsy (P = 0.527). In all, 80% (110/137) of biopsy confirmed prostate cancers were clinically significant. For the upgrading of Gleason score, 44% (32/72) more clinically significant prostate cancer was detected by using additional targeted biopsy than by systematic biopsy alone. Conversely, 12% (10/94) more clinically significant cancer was found by systematic biopsy additionally to targeted biopsy.

CONCLUSIONS

MRI/US-fusion biopsy was associated with a higher detection rate of clinically significant prostate cancer while taking fewer cores, especially in patients with prior negative biopsy. Due to a high portion of additional tumours with Gleason score ≥7 detected in addition to targeted biopsy, systematic biopsy should still be performed additionally to targeted biopsy.

Read more articles of the week

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Article of the Month: Cabazitaxel Improves QoL in mCRPC

Every Month the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Month from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Final Quality of Life and Safety Data for patients with mCRPC treated with Cabazitaxel in the UK Early Access Programme (NCT01254279)

Amit Bahl*, Susan Masson*, Zafar Malik, Alison J. Birtle, Santhanam Sundar§, Rob J. Jones¶, Nicholas D. James**, Malcolm D. Mason††, Satish Kumar††, David Bottomley‡‡, Anna Lydon§§, Simon Chowdhury¶¶, James Wylie*** and Johann S. de Bono†††

 

*Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, Bristol, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Wirral, Rosemere Cancer Centre, Royal Preston Hospital, Preston, §Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, University of Glasgow, Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow, **School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, ††Velindre Hospital, Cardiff, ‡‡St Jamess University Hospital, Leeds, §§South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Torquay, ¶¶Guys and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, London, ***The Christie NHS Foundationm Trust, Manchester, and †††The Institute for Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, UK

 

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

To compile the safety profile and quality of life (QoL) data for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) treated with cabazitaxel in the UK Early Access Programme (UK EAP).

PATIENTS AND METHODS

A total of 112 patients participated at 12 UK cancer centres. All had mCRPC with disease progression during or after docetaxel. Patients received cabazitaxel 25 mg/m2 every 3 weeks with prednisolone 10 mg daily for up to 10 cycles. Safety assessments were performed before each cycle and QoL was recorded at alternate cycles using the EQ-5D-3L questionnaire and visual analogue scale (VAS). Thesafety profile was compiled after completion of the UK EAP and QoL measures were analysed to record trends. No formal statistical analysis was carried out.

RESULTS

The incidences of neutropenic sepsis (6.3%), grade 3 and 4 diarrhoea (4.5%) and grade 3 and 4 cardiac toxicity (0%) were low. Neutropenic sepsis episodes, though low, occurred only in patients who did not receive prophylactic granulocyte-colony stimulating factor. There were trends towards improved VAS and EQ-5D-3L pain scores during treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

The UK EAP experience indicates that cabazitaxel might improve QoL in mCRPC and represents an advance and a useful addition to the armamentarium of treatment for patients whose disease has progressed during or after docetaxel. In view of the potential toxicity, careful patient selection is important.

Read more articles of the week

Editorial: Cabazitaxel for the therapy of mCRPC in the aftermath of CHAARTED

In this issue of BJUI, Bahl et al. [1] describe clinical outcomes amongst 112 patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) receiving cabazitaxel 25 mg/m2 in the UK Early Access Programme (EAP). Patients also received daily oral corticosteroids in a fashion consistent with the phase III TROPIC study and had experienced disease progression during or after docetaxel [2]. The study suggests that improved quality of life and only modest toxicity are achieved with cabazitaxel. Moving forward, the key challenge will be translating these data to clinical practice in the context of a rapidly changing therapeutic landscape.

A veritable game of leapfrog has been ongoing in metastatic prostate cancer. In 2010, two agents were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, sipuleucel-T and cabazitaxel. Sipuleucel-T, a dendritic cell vaccine, remains largely applied in the pre-docetaxel setting in patients who are either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic. By contrast, the phase III TROPIC trial leading to the approval of cabazitaxel exclusively included patients who had previously received docetaxel. These approvals made for a relatively straightforward approach to mCRPC, with docetaxel therapy flanked by sipuleucel-T and cabazitaxel. Within 2 years, two novel endocrine therapies emerged, abiraterone and enzalutamide, initially approved in the post-docetaxel space and subsequently in the pre-docetaxel space. A fifth agent, radium-223, was approved for mCPRC in 2013 based on a trial conducted in symptomatic patients with bone metastases who were either post-docetaxel or unfit for or refused docetaxel.

Although editorials and position papers abound, there is actually little consensus regarding the sequencing of these agents. Furthermore, the classification of these therapies as pre- or post-docetaxel may be rendered obsolete in the aftermath of the recently reported CHAARTED trial [3]. In that study, a total of 790 patients with mostly extensive (defined as presence of visceral disease or ≥4 bone lesions with ≥1 lesion beyond the spine or pelvis) newly diagnosed metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer were randomized to receive either androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) alone or ADT with six cycles of docetaxel (without daily corticosteroids). The study was closed after a planned interim analysis showed a significant survival advantage in the experimental arm; median overall survival was 57.6 months with docetaxel with ADT vs 44.0 months with ADT alone (hazard ratio 0.49, 95% CI 0.37–0.65; P < 0.001). Furthermore, recent data from the phase III STAMPEDE trial corroborate the robust increment provided by combining docetaxel with ADT in patients with metastatic or high-risk non-metastatic castration-sensitive disease [4]. Thus, for many patients, docetaxel may leap to the fore.

If this is the case, where will cabazitaxel be applied? In patients with mCRPC who have received docetaxel in the castration-sensitive setting, either reinstitution of docetaxel or one of the new agents approved since 2010 may be appropriate. The report by Bahl et al. provides useful data to suggest that cabazitaxel would be reasonably tolerated in this setting, and reports quality-of-life benefits in conjunction with a low incidence of neuropathy and no toxic deaths. Conversely, despite the fact that 79.5% of patients received prophylactic G-CSF from cycle 1 and an additional 5.3% received G-CSF with subsequent cycles, 6.3% experienced neutropenic sepsis, which attests to the substantial myelosuppression caused by this agent. The optimum sequencing of all of the available agents for mCRPC is unclear and there is an absence of validated predictive biomarkers to deploy personalized therapy. Hence, eligibility criteria employed in the landmark trials, and clinical factors such as Gleason score and duration of prior ADT and comorbidities have been used to select agents, although these strategies remain unvalidated. There are published retrospective clinical experiences that address sequencing, which are not definitive. Since the advent of abiraterone and enzalutamide, the use of cabazitaxel has declined. Intriguingly, some but not all retrospective studies suggest that cabazitaxel followed by androgen axis inhibitors might lead to improved outcomes compared with androgen axis inhibitors followed by cabazitaxel [5, 6]. Another piece in the puzzle is provided by retrospective studies suggesting that cabazitaxel may retain substantial activity even after docetaxel and novel androgen inhibitors, while docetaxel appears to show poorer activity after androgen inhibitors [7].

In summary, the EAP data from Bahl et al. [1] characterizes the activity and safety of cabazitaxel in a real-world population. Furthermore, the use of prophylactic G-CSF in accordance with guidelines appeared to eliminate the deaths from neutropenic sepsis observed in the TROPIC trial, which did not use routine prophylactic G-CSF. The ongoing three-arm phase III FIRSTANA trial compares cabazitaxel with docetaxel as first-line chemotherapy for mCRPC and also attempts to refine dosing by investigating both the 25 and 20 mg/m2 doses. Similarly, the PROSELICA phase III trial attempts to show the non-inferiority of the 20 mg/m2 dose of cabazitaxel compared with the 25 mg/m2 dose in the post-docetaxel setting. Randomized phase II trials are investigating the impact of early switching of the taxane (docetaxel or cabazitaxel) in the absence of PSA decline ≥30% within 3 months and the impact of switching to cabazitaxel vs a different androgen inhibitor in those progressing on a first-line androgen inhibitor within 6 months.

Read the full article
Sumanta K. PalAssociate Professor and Guru Sonpavde, *Associate Professor

 

Department of Medical Oncology & Experimental Therapeutics, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, CA, and *Department of Medicine, Hematology- Oncology division, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, AB, USA

 

References

 

 

 

3 Sweeney CJ, Chen YH , Carducci M et al. Chemohormonal Therapy in Metastatic Hormone-Sensitive Prostate Cancer. New Engl Med 2015; 20: 73746

 

 

 

 

 

Scientific impact and beyond

After a constant upward trajectory for 3 years, in 2015 the BJUI achieved an impact factor (IF) of 3.53, the highest ever in its history. Complacency is not in our DNA and we hope to achieve much more. We set out to become the most read surgical journal on the web and as part of that initiative have just launched our Android app in addition to the existing iPhone and iPad app. But our true impact beyond the IF, lies perhaps in the Altmetric score.

Altmetric is a score of the impact of (or perhaps better, the attention attained by) articles, based on mentions over a period of time in online channels such as news outlets, science blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Sina Weibo and Wikipedia, amongst others. The automated algorithm’s calculation of an article’s score applies weighting to the sources, such that a mention on a news outlet is weighted 8, or in a science blog 5, whereas a Twitter mention is only weighted 1, and a Facebook mention 0.25. News outlet scores are also tiered by their reach, re-tweets score less than original tweets, and bias is accounted for, e.g. tweets by independent researchers count more than a tweet by the journal that published the article.

am-i-normal-altmet-smThe results are visualized as the ‘Altmetric donut’ with the calculated score in the centre. In the donut the different colours represent the different channels; so, for example Twitter is cyan, Facebook is dark blue, Blogs (including Weibo) are orange, News outlets red, Google+ is magenta, Video is pale green, Reddit is pale blue and Wikipedia is dark grey. The proportion of the donut that is shown in each colour generally reflects how much of the score was contributed to by that channel, but when many channels need to be represented then each is given a segment as is seen in the rainbow donut for our ‘Am I Normal’ article [Veale et al].

To give some context to the phenomenal level of interest in the ‘Am I Normal’ article, which at the time of writing boasts a score of 1034, most articles attain a score of 3 or under, and a score of 9 is sufficient to put an article in the top 10% of all 4,386,073 that Altmetric has scored. ‘Am I Normal’ is, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the top 1% of all articles scored.

Our other highly citable innovation is the BJUI Guideline of Guidelines (GOGs), which have made access to, and the understanding of, often conflicting urological guidelines a lot easier. Along with our other guidelines on chronic prostatitis [Rees et al] and continence [Tse et al], they will all be available in early 2016 as a virtual issue of GOGs [Loeb; Ziemba & Matlaga; Wollin & Makarov; Syan & Brucker] in a single repository on our web journal. Completely free, of course!

Prokar Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief, BJUI
Scott Millar, Managing Editor, BJUI
Jo Wixon, Publisher, John Wiley and Sons Ltd

 

 

The professional benefits of USANZ trainee week 2015

sanchia photoI landed on a bright sunny Brisbane morning for the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) Trainee Week 2015 – an annual, 5 day, comprehensive, bi-national conference specifically for trainees.  I have much to be grateful for including sponsorship from BAUS, TUF, USANZ and SURG. All these organisations had realised international organisation inter-working is required to foster a higher level of teaching for trainees.

Later that day, I had opportunities to meet trainees from all over Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). The quality of training given is truly remarkable. When looked at in detail, the ANZ system focuses on general surgery training initially, prior to moving to urology as a separate speciality. The result of this are that they are superb open surgeons. This is often a dying art and difficult to gain.

Our first day started with a chance to observe mock FRACS stations. The standard of the candidates was incredibly high, despite it being a mock exam. As part of this, an overview of the FRACS exam was given by one of the FRACS senior examiners, Mr. Neil Smith. The day concluded with meetings of trainees for each region within ANZ – again another fantastic way to support the trainees. I have never seen anything quite like this. This also ensures trainees are receiving adequate training as concerns and issues are relayed directly to the training board chair. The evening concluded with a Welcome reception and barbeque at Brisbane Surf club.

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The next day started with a series of lectures on bladder cancer, led by Mr Shomik Sengupta (Melbourne) and Mr. Roger Watson (Brisbane). There were many learning points for trainees to take away, including case based management discussions, role of cystoprostatectomy and role of bladder preservation (Dr Tanya Holt, Brisbane).

Also covered were the roles of neoadjuvant vs adjuvant chemotherapy, (Dr. Niara Oliveira, Brisbane), the pros and cons of urinary diversion (Dr. Sarah Azer), and LND (Dr. Jonathan Chambers, Brisbane).  After lunch the most amazing teaching was given on uro radiology, with a focus on nuclear medicine and also on pathology. The FRACS exam is very different from any other end of training exam, as there will be both radiology and pathology stations.

The next day dawned bright and early, with a whole morning of paediatric urology.  I can think of many registrars, who would love a whole morning of teaching on this subject- it is not often easy to get access to paediatric urology.  Testicular embryology and maldescent were very nicely covered by Mr. Peter Borzi, (Brisbane). Both normal and abnormal conditions were discussed including reasons for orchidopexy with maldescent. Former USANZ President, David Winkle then spoke on translation care. Mr Pete McTaggart, then covered Adolescent voiding dysfunction, a profoundly difficult subject to manage, given the age of the patient and the disease involved.

The next focus was on the adrenal including functions of the adrenal, management of the adrenal mass and investigations and phaeochromocytoma. This again, is another area, which is not often covered or encountered in clinical practice.

The morning concluded with a Board of Urology update addressed by Mr Richard Grills, Board Chair, covering the training programme for urologists. Also covered were training policies and involvement of RACS in governing this. Most impressively, USANZ has negotiated membership for all of its’ trainees with EAU, SIU and AUA. A good step forward regarding international working and fellowship.

The next day started with a breakfast meeting, on how to pass the FRACS exam. This session was chaired by Dr. Matt Winter. Big congratulations also went out to Dr. Tim Smith, who had had a baby the day before and still attended to teach. Topics covered were perspectives of preparing emotionally, physically, and psychologically. This recognised how difficult it can be to prepare. All tips and tricks were given by former trainees, who had passed the exam. Further mock practice also occurred, being taken through a pathology exam.

A whole session was dedicated to renal cancer covering topics such as active surveillance, partial and radical nephrectomy, RFA and cryotherapy. A really fantastic lecture was given by Mr. Simon Wood on management of RCC and cyotreductive nephrectomy, followed by oncological management of metastatic RCC. This is an area, which unless you are in a renal fellowship, may not see.

The next session involved teaching on upper tract and transplant. This was absolutely brilliant at covering donor assessment, management of transplant ureter and assessment of renal function and prognosis. Unless a transplant job were done, this knowledge would not be gained.  All of this contributes to making a far better surgeon.

The afternoon focused on mastering difficult interactions with colleagues. Lastly, the day ended, with case based discussions, focused on FRACS viva practice. After having gone through that, I have a greater respect for all candidates going through post graduate exams. The evening was completed by a lovely boat ride through Brisbane and farewell dinner.

2The next day, started with a bang, with Prof Samaratunga (Brisbane) talking on prostate grading. It is wonderful to have a lady professor. It shows the forward thinking of the Australia medical field, clearly ahead of others. Next, very valuable teaching was received from Dr. Peter Swindle (Brisbane). This was followed by teaching on PSA screening by Dr John Yaxley (Brisbane).  PSMA PET was then covered by Dr. Rob Clarke (Brisbane), and its role in detection of prostate cancer. A fantastic presentation on management of elevated PSA was covered via a balloon debate- much loved by all and a different way of learning.

The conference ended with a quiz- Masters of the Uroverse. Teams from different regions of Australia battled it out for the title. It ended the conference is a very fun and unusual way. After having been to this meeting, my knowledge base has grown.

Our thanks go to Ms. Deborah Klein, the star organiser who is Education and Training Manager of USANZ, the Convener Mr. Stuart Philip and Mr. Richard Grills Chair, Board of Urology for hosting a thoroughly enjoyable event. Also to all the trainees and consultants who made us incredibly welcome.

 

Sanchia Goonewardene, University of Warwick, UK. @survivorshipuk

 

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