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EAU 2017 Congress Days 1&2

 
rajesh-nair≠WeAreNotAfraid. Perhaps the standout memory of EAU – London 2017. The 32nd Annual EAU Congress in London was marked with a message of defiance from colleagues and delegates from London, Great Britain, Europe and Worldwide. These were messages of solidarity, which rang through in person and on social media after an attack at Westminster.  It was quite simple. London, Europe and the World will continue regardless of these tragic events and our urological fraternity beautifully demonstrated this as days following, a record-breaking attendance of 12000 delegates from over 123 countries descended to the Excel Centre in London, UK.

 

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 EAU-2017 had surpassed many a milestone. A record breaking 5000 abstracts were submitted for poster and video presentations from over 81 countries. 1200 presentations were displayed across 300 poster and video sessions. This year showcased an expansion of the number of plenary sessions from 4 to 7 allowing for a greater choice for all delegates. The quality, breadth and expertise behind the EBUS educational courses must be commended. Finally, as always, live surgery, which has year on year, proved to be popular was broadcast from Guy’s Hospital, London. They showcased the crème de la crème of surgical talent from live procedures with over 30 surgeons involved in operating, moderating, acting as patient advocates and in organisation. I, as I am sure all delegates extend our gratitude to the patients involved during the live surgical broadcast.

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 The camaraderie was clear to see. One could not take more than ten steps without running into a colleague or friend. It was a perfect opportunity to catch up, network and build relationships. Perhaps it was Prof. Sir Bruce Keogh (NHS England’s Medical Director and Commissioner of the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI)) who described it best in his opening address: ‘meetings like this are vitally important since it is at these occasions that knowledge and professional links are developed, and at these events ideas take seed and take hold: the important ideas that will later lead to significant work and progress in medicine.”

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In addition, the opening ceremony showcased some the serious talent in urology. Awards for Prof. Paul Abrams, Prof. Per-Anders Abrahamsson, Prof. Christian Gratzke, Dr. Riccardo Autorino and Mr. Richard Turner-Warwick demonstrated their commitment, hard work and dedication to the specialty.

Day 1 began with multiple subspecialty meetings and meetings between affiliated sections. These themed discussions were stimulating and really addressed the trials and tribulations as well as successes in the delivery of urology worldwide. Day 1 also showcased a fantastic session organised by the prostate cancer prevention group. They examined the role of active surveillance in low risk prostate cancer with specific reference to data from ProtecT, ESRPC and the PLCO trials. Prof. Hamdy gave a comprehensive overview of the ProtecT study and reminded the audience that the risk of death from prostate cancer remains low (1% over ten years), and that surgery and radiotherapy although reduce cancer progression can result in bothersome side effects.  The increasing role of urine based biomarkers; microRNA, imaging and genetic testing were all discussed when redefining the cohort of patients suitable for active surveillance.

The night ended with drinks at the Healtap, a bar outside Guy’s hospital, London. This was a throwback to the past for many. Old friends and colleagues, past fellows and current urologists all gathered to reminisce about past UK experiences. Following this, a late night serious session of serious recording and video production ensued with Declan Murphy and Alastair Lamb. For those open surgical protagonists who wonder ‘what have the robots ever done for us?’ I encourage you to watch:

The opening plenary session of Day 2: ‘Sleepless nights: Would you do the same again?’ chaired by Mr. Tim O’Brien critically re-evaluates some of the management decisions for kidney cancer from a medico-legal perspective. This session was fascinating and almost akin to a TV drama. A medico-legal lawyer (Mr. Leigh) vociferously cross-examining key members of faculty and an audience watching them sweat over what would have been initially perceived an acceptable clinical decision. A key message: allow your patients to take on decisions and not shoulder the entire burden yourself and the phrase; ‘your skills are for your patient, your notes are for yourselves’ continues to resonate.

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Another EAU annual conference goes by with yet more casualties from a verbal punch up. The second session showcased a debate on robotic salvage prostatectomy between Declan Murphy and Axel Heidenreich. Perhaps the blood spilt from this joust reminded the audience that despite the rising bank of evidence favouring salvage prostatectomy, there will always remains debate when a salvage procedure is associated with increased morbidity and risk for the patient.

The ‘twitosphere’ was heavily active. The beauty of this as always is that if you were to miss sessions, lectures or abstracts, the ability to follow them on twitter in real time adds another dimension to conference attendance.

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The most re-tweeted slide was presented by Dr. Ashish Kamat, a simple yes incredibly powerful slide demonstrating the equivalence in disease specific survival between high grade T1 urothelial carcinoma of the bladder and advanced prostate cancer reminded us all of the need to be vigilant and aggressive with high grade non muscle invasive disease of the bladder.

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Day 2 brought out some of the best in abstracts, EBUS courses and updates in clinical trials.  The latest developments in urological research include: the PROstate MRI Imaging Study (PROMIS) trial results reviewed by Hashim Ahmed and futher evidence and discussion from the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial by Freddie Hamdy. Prof. Jim Catto gave an eloquent talk examining the role of the enhanced recovery programme in radical cystectomy.

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What a fantastic start to the meeting! As you shall see, the remainder of the meeting did not disappoint. Dr. Hendrick Borgmann will reveal all in the update of day 3 and 4.

 

Mr. Rajesh Nair

Fellow in Robotics and Uro-Oncology

The Royal Melbourne Hospital & Peter MacCallum Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

Twitter: @nairajesh

 

April Editorial: The BJUI’s clinical trials initiative

The BJUI supports clinical trials. Plain, simple, and with some new strategies.

Randomised clinical trials (RCTs) are the highest level of evidence-based medicine. We know this to be true, but we also know that RCTs are a challenge to fund, accrue patients, execute, and follow to endpoints. From a statistician’s point of view, RCTs provide unbiased estimates of the effects of different treatments. From a clinician’s point of view, RCTs provide the grandest of experiments in nature – a true test of option A vs option B. We are thrilled when one option beats the other. We can be satisfied if the options are equivalent, at least knowing the matter is settled and move on to the next question. Either way, the story lines can be rich with ongoing debate, drama, and analysis: were the cohorts truly equivalent? Was the study population generalisable? Were the treatments contemporary? Were there unintended harms/toxicities?

Allow us to illustrate some examples of what we propose to our readers. In 2003, Thompson et al. [1] published the famous Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial in the New England Journal of Medicine: ‘The influence of finasteride on the development of prostate cancer’. This landmark study has been cited 2541 times, according to Google Scholar. Looking further at impact, one can go to the www.swog.org site and query the protocol ‘SWOG-9217’ and see that over 150 publications have been produced using this dataset (16 in 2016!). Several publications pre-dated the primary endpoint paper and discussed trial design, the dilemma of chemoprevention, and updates to trial progress. Post primary endpoint, publications have looked at multiple strategies – costs, the high-grade findings, longer-term follow-up, biopsy findings from the placebo arm, etc. Just last year, the UK made its mark on the prostate cancer world with the landmark Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study [2]. Again, we see the primary endpoint paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, but secondary endpoint papers, such as the quality-of-life outcomes are in the BJUI [3], and a mortality outcome analysis for trial screen failures in European Urology [4].

The BJUI can support clinical trial efforts through multiple pathways. Certainly, we would love to receive a primary endpoint paper from an important RCT in urology. We can also have impact by featuring important secondary endpoint papers, trial design papers (preferably ones that read like a good review article, with the trial proposed as the ‘answer’ to the dilemma), as well as smaller/early phase I–II trials that are stand-alone pieces of key knowledge. Figure 1 shows a possible flow chart of a RCT with each box representing possible publication points. In addition to content in the BJUI, our webpage Blogs section has a ‘rapid response team’ to start immediate dialogue on important RCTs published in other journals. For example with the recent Yaxley et al. [5] trial in the Lancet, our blogs section, led by Declan Murphy, had over 10 000 views and over 50 follow-up comments. So clearly, our readers care about RCTs.

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Figure 1. A possible flow chart of a randomised clinical trial (RCT) with each box representing possible publication points. QOL, quality of life; f/u, follow-up.

Finally, the BJUI can help with RCTs in two more ways. For the reader, we will highlight RCT-related papers in their native sections (i.e. oncology, functional, education) with a special ‘Trials’ headline, and will invite experts to comment on the significance of the study. For reviewers and authors, we will be critical on RCT design, such that flaws are identified, and papers not given inflated significance. It is frustrating to receive papers that lack adequate reporting on what researchers did, RCT-related papers submitted to the BJUI frequently fail to adhere to the 2010 Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guidance for reporting RCTs, which potentially leads to major revisions, if not outright rejection. The CONSORT requirements are on our author submission guidelines, but ideally these are read and adhered to in advance, as many are not possible to correct after the fact. Recently, we have also added that all RCTs must be registered (i.e. clinicaltrials.gov or similar) before the first patient is enrolled.

John W. Davis, Associate Editor, Urological Oncology* and
Graeme MacLennan, Consulting Editor, Statistics and Trials

*MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA and University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK


References

How to Cite this article

Davis, J. W. and MacLennan, G. (2017), The BJUI‘s clinical trials initiative. BJU International, 119: 503. doi: 10.1111/bju.13837

 

Capitalising On Our Strengths: The 70th USANZ ASM

Canberra, our nation’s capital and the host city for the 2017 USANZ ASM, is a gem in its own right, but one which was created to satiate two feuding states locked in a bitter rivalry. In 1908, Canberra embodied the very meaning of compromise and collaboration, a technique which has garnered much success for our Country over the ensuing 100 odd years. Arguably the first official Australian collaborative effort, this way of thinking has become an almost uniquely Australian attribute and a strength imbued in our national pride.

USANZ 2017 was held in CanberraCanberra from up high, a breathtaking backdrop for a fantastic USANZ ASM.

Given this year’s mantra of: “Capitalising on our strengths” It is perhaps fitting then, that the 70th anniversary of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) including the Australia and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society (ANZUNS) 22nd ASM, should be held in such a location. In addition to providing some wonderful tourist opportunities for guests including the War Memorial, the National Gallery and Parliament House.

Convenors A/Prof Nathan Lawrentschuk and Kath Schubach went to great efforts to successfully welcome both national and international guests and Scientific Program Directors A/Prof Shomik Sengupta and Carla D’Amico ensured a star-studded academic program addressing contemporary updates in Urological evidence based practice, which were aptly discussed both inside and outside the confines of the National Convention Centre.

1-2Senior YURO members standing outside Parliament House (from left to right): Dr. Daniel Christidis, Dr. Tatenda Nzenza, Dr. Todd Manning, Dr. Shannon McGrath

 

The representation by International faculty was exceptional, with countless urological household names from world leading centres across the globe both involved in the academic program and socially. Urological goliaths including Prof. Christopher Chapple, Prof. Prokar Dasgupta and Prof. Laurence Klotz weighed in on various topical issues providing an intercontinental perspective that complimented the equally impressive national line-up of speakers.

As with previous years, use of social media was rife, with those not able to attend kept in the loop via #Usanz17 and a steady stream from the ever focused twitterati. The ASM provided more than 5 million impressions and over 2800 individual tweets from more than 400 participants. The usual suspects were eminent as always, along with a few newcomers who provided impact in their own right. The official USANZ 2017 App also kept participants up to date via timely notifications and was user friendly.

Guests were spoilt for choice in the convention centre during well timed breaks, which was perpetually abuzz with attendees networking. In the background the ‘Talking Urology’ team headed by Mr Joseph Ischia and A/Prof Nathan Lawrentschuk provided a steady stream of captivating interviews with guests, regarding a myriad of urological topics. Simultaneously, numerous academics gave brief summaries of research posters during allocated presentation sessions. Exhibitors provided a captivating backdrop for these activities including many hands-on simulators and challenges for those keen to test their dextrous mettle. All the while guests relished a variety of delectable culinary options.

1-3Guests networking at the Gala Dinner, whilst being entertained by opera classics in the Great Hall foyer of Parliament House

 

The meeting’s common themes were strong and pertinent to contemporary urology. They centred around collaborative research efforts such as the ANZUP trials group and the Young Urology Researchers Organisation (YURO), technology especially PSMA PET and social media and social justice including women in urology and operating with respect. Discussions were directed by chairpersons during purposefully allocated Q&A times at the conclusion of each session, a new and well received addition to this years meeting. This was generously embraced by both senior and junior academics and led to intriguing symposiums and at times heated debate.

 

USANZ 2017 Friday Highlights

The first official day of proceedings provided a smorgasbord of morning and afternoon workshops ranging from technical skills courses to the medico-legal implications of E-Health and technology. This was followed by an allocated networking session for Urology trainees with International faculty.

Officially opening the conference in the Royal Theatre of the convention centre, A/Prof Lawrentschuk introduced this year’s Harry Harris orator; Elizabeth Cosson, AM CSC.  Her speech entitled “leading with grit and grace” eloquently detailed her journey in the armed forces and highlighted the difficulties of the unmistakably imbalanced workplace for women in the military. Her talk clearly underlined her role in not only forging a highly successful career for herself but also for those women following in her footsteps. Her inspiring dialogue was synchronous with contemporary issues surrounding Urological practice, especially concerning equality for women but more resolutely, appropriate equity both in training and established practice.

With the tone well established for an exceptional meeting, guests enjoyed a variety of canapés and drinks in the exhibition hall, unwinding with social discussion.

1-4YURO President, Dr Todd Manning talks to young researchers with help from Prof. Henry Woo and A/Prof. Lawrentschuk during the YURO annual meeting

 

Saturday Highlights

Plenary sessions aplenty began the second day of proceedings with International academic giants including Prof. Klotz, Prof. Chapple, Prof. Traxer and Prof Nitti mixed in with National heavy hitters such as Prof Frank Gardiner, Mr Daniel Moon and outgoing USANZ president Prof. Mark Frydenberg.

Afternoon sessions included subspecialty discussions and some stellar Podium Poster presentations, with an especially impressive mix of senior and junior researchers regarding countless and diverse urological topics.

 

Sunday Highlights

Heralding the beginning of another exceptional day, the ‘Women in Urology’ breakfast symposium chaired by Dr Anita Clark along side distinguished panellists including Dr Caroline Dowling and Dr Eva Fong was a conference stand out for many.

Following this, more plenary sessions filled the remainder of the pre-lunch program, leading into the highly anticipated Keith Kirkland and Villis Marshall presentations by Urology SET trainees. The presentations did not disappoint. As in previous years, research of unyielding professional and academic quality was offered by the group of future urologists, who as is tradition weathered the gauntlet of probing and tough questions from the floor. All presentations were captivating in their own right.  2017 Villis Marshall winner Dr Marlon Perera presented ground-breaking research regarding the reno-protective role of zinc in contrast nephropathy. Dr Amila Siriwardana was deservedly awarded the Keith Kirkland

award for his multicentre retrospective review on Robot assisted salvage node dissection to treat recurrences detected by PSMA PET.

Following these presentations, the YURO annual meeting once again heralded a complement of enthusiastic, innovative and clever minds from all Australian states, eager to pursue research opportunities through collaborative means. Joined this year by Prof. Henry Woo, the group was fortunate to receive his valuable insight and feedback regarding past success and future direction. The group solidified upcoming positions of leadership and highlighted new directions in educational, research and mentorship avenues for younger members.

The Gala Dinner is a stand out affair during each ASM and this year was no exception. Guests were provided with the unique opportunity to see Australia’s Parliament House from the inside. The night began with surprise operatic renditions of many well known classics in the spacious foyer of the Great Hall and culminated with a climactic performance of Nesson Dorma. Guests then enjoyed a delectable 3 course meal in identical fashion to a rare collection of political royalty including; Barack Obama, Prince William and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

1-5Twitter metrics tabulated from the conference via the #Usanz17 (courtesy of Symplur LLC)

 

Monday Highlights

The final day of proceedings saw once again provided an array of interesting and thought provoking topics.  The clear highlight of the morning was the metaphorical prize fight between Mr Joseph Ischia and Dr Shankar Siva debating the roles of surgery and radiotherapy in Oligometastatic disease. Although these two went toe to toe over many rounds, the inevitable conclusion was understandably a draw. Although on PowerPoint slide pictures alone, Dr Siva’s extensive use of Star Wars based analogies won my vote.

Insight and introduction to the 71st USANZ ASM was then delivered and as a Melbournian my bias was admittedly hard to hide. Attendees received a taste of the excitement to come, with what is assured to be another blockbuster cast of national and international urologists led boldly by Convenor Mr Daniel Moon and Scientific Program Director Prof. Declan Murphy. I for one, eagerly anticipate the return of the ASM to out Nation’s culinary and cultural capitol and I’m sure guests in 2018 will be captivated by the world most liveable city!

It can be said with certainty that this years USANZ 70th ASM presented a scientific program as strong as ever within a fascinating and historical backdrop and complimented by a lively social atmosphere. This consensus of a highly successful meeting, I’m sure was shared by all.

I look forward to seeing you all next year and hope you are eagerly anticipating the ‘flat whites’.

 

Dr. Todd G Manning, Department of Surgery, Austin Health, Melbourne, and Young Urology Researchers Organisation (YURO), Australia. Twitter: @DocToddManning

 

March 2017 #urojc summary: Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection with Radical Prostatectomy – Is there enough evidence for and against?

The twitter-based international urology journal club @iurojc #urojc is back with a splash after a brief hiatus. For the March 2017 #urojc, a lively discussion takes the theme of pelvic node dissection (PLND) on radical prostatectomy (RP) reviewing a timely article by Nicola Fossati et al. The paper was made available open access courtesy of European Urology @EUplatinum.

A systematic review of the literature was performed including all comparative studies of both randomized and non randomized studies, with at least one experimental and one control arm. This summarised 66 studies including more than 250.000 patients with particular focus on different extents of pelvic lymphadenectomy as proposed by the European Association of Urology. Outcome measures studied included oncological features of biochemical recurrence, development of metastases, cancer-specific survival, and overall survival. Adverse events were covered under secondary outcomes, both intra- and postoperatively observed. Finally, quality of PLND was addressed in terms of total number of nodes and total number of positive nodes. Risk of bias was assessed for all studies judging on basis of specific confounders.

The journal club ran for 48 hours from Sunday 5th march. The central question addressed is balance of benefits and drawbacks of lymph node dissection. The corresponding author of the manuscript, Steven Joniau from the University Hospitals of Leuven, Belgium highlighted the role of lymph nodes in prostate cancer recurrence.

However despite this idea, the benefit of PLND is heavily scrutinized from the start. Long term data from a single centre  suggested limited benefit.

 

However PLND has since earlier times been employed as a diagnostic tool, where an optimal template (presacral in addition to extended LND) may be optimal for staging and removal of lymph nodes.

Despite the current state of evidence, PLND is frequently mentioned in the various guidelines available for prostate cancer. However the exact situations when to employ them is questioned by some participants.

The various therapeutic options for lymph node metastases also coloured the discussion.

The discussion further continued to the important issue of morbidity, and the associated question of performing an extended PLND (ePLND).

Despite the current state of evidence, PLND is frequently mentioned in the various guidelines available for prostate cancer. However the exact situations when to employ them is questioned by some participants.

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The discussion further continued to the important issue of morbidity, and the associated question of performing an extended PLND (ePLND).

The increasing use of PSMA PET/CT provided other spread pattern data to be considered. And finally temporal changes in PSA testing is observed to affect the need for LND.

 

From the poll which ran during the discussion, about half responders would perform extended PLND for staging, while the rest were divided almost equally between therapeutic benefit and adherence to guideline recommendations.

Probably all participants of the discussion agrees for the need of a proper randomised study addressing role of PLND.

At the end of a busy 48 hours, the discussion had been joined by top experts in the field of prostate cancer, generated more than 200 tweets and reached more than 700 thousand impressions the world over.

Yodi Soebadi (@yodisoebadi) is an Indonesian urologist, trained at Universitas Airlangga, currently pursuing doctoral research at KU Leuven in Belgium.

 

Introducing The Urology Green List

henry-wooThe world of predatory scientific publishing had a major ‘win’ when Jeffrey Beall’s blog “Scholarly Open Access” was suddenly emptied of content in January 2017. Beall was tireless in his attempts to expose the unscrupulous behaviour of predatory open access journals whose objective was nothing other than to extract author publication charges (APCs) from unwitting academics. His blog was very much the “go to” site if one wished to check the legitimacy of a particular open access journal. In a confusing publishing landscape, it was an essential guidance on which open access journals were to be avoided. The growth of this predatory publishing industry has been exponential and clearly a reflection of the enormous amount money that is there to be made. Beall was constantly under attack from predatory publishers including threats of litigation. Beall has gone to ground and this normally vocal bastion of transparency has provided no reason for the sudden deletion of content from the Scholarly Open Access blog.

You can’t help to ask the following questions about the predatory publishing industry. How do these journals make such inroads into academia? How do they manage to outwit highly intelligent individuals to support their journal either through the submission of manuscripts or editorial board duties?  The answer is quite simple.  They prey on the naivety, vulnerability and egos of academics.

Spam email casts a wide net. Cast it wide enough and somebody is bound to get caught.  The standards required to publish articles in good journals has never been so high and the pressure to publish weighs heavy in the minds of academics.  These emails will always find an email inbox of a researcher on the rebound after the rejection of a manuscript from a reputable journal.  The language of the emails use flattery and an expert sales pitch to appeal to the recipient into submitting an article and then later discovering excessive APCs. If payment is refused, the article is published in any case; as a result of this action, they are deprived of the opportunity to submit their work elsewhere.

The same language is used to appeal to urologists to become members of editorial boards. Those accepting these roles unwittingly allow these journals to trade on their good name as well as the good name of their institutions to prop up their otherwise shonky image. These academics inadvertently contribute to the flow of manuscripts to these journals as a result of researchers associating the credibility of editorial board members with the credibility of the journal.

Beall’s focus was very much on where not to publish. The recent events suggest that a change in direction is needed. Accordingly, the Urology Green List has been created. The focus is all about good journals, both subscription and open access, where it is considered safe for the urological community to send their research for publication.  Beall demonstrated that it was a never ending task trying to keep up with an exponential growth in the numbers of predatory journals. It is far more practical to maintain a list of journals where it is safe to publish.

Absence from the list does not mean that a journal must be avoided – absence is nothing more than a red flag suggesting that there be appropriate due diligence in establishing the authenticity of the journal and to ask colleagues, friends and mentors for advice.

The Urology Green List will be a living on line document.  Visitors will be encouraged to make suggestions on which journals should be added to the list and which journals should be removed from the list.  In the near future, an International Editorial Board will be established to assist with providing opinion and review of journals that are for inclusion or exclusion from the Urology Green List.

In the longer term, a project will be to develop objective criteria for which journals on the Urology Green List may be assessed and graded.  In the future, it is hoped that researchers can be provided with guidance to understand the ‘best fit’ venue for their research amongst the journals that reside on the Urology Green List.

Please come and visit the Urology Green List.  It is here to support the urological community. Feedback is always welcome.

 

https://urologygreenlist.wordpress.com/

 

 

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Henry Woo is a urological surgeon.  He is Professor of Surgery (Urology) at the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School of the University of Sydney. He is also the Director of Uro-Oncology and Professor of Robotic Cancer Surgery at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse cancer service in Sydney. @drhwoo

 

March Editorial: London welcomes the European Association of Urology (EAU)

wefwefIt is a great pleasure to write this editorial looking forward to the EAU hosting its 2017 meeting in London.

The EAU17 meeting promises to be outstanding, with a record-breaking number of abstracts for poster and video presentations submitted for the upcoming 32nd Annual EAU Congress (EAU17) in London. There were approximately 5000 abstracts submitted from 81 countries across the globe, the majority being from Europe and Asia. The overall acceptance rate of the submitted abstracts for both poster and video sessions was 25.37%; 1171 were selected from the 4625 abstracts submitted for the poster sessions and 89 video presentations were accepted from the 342 submitted for the 11 video sessions. This year the main Plenary Sessions were expanded from four to seven, providing not only theoretical perspectives but also focusing on best clinical practice. This is epitomised by the opening plenary session ‘Sleepless nights: Would you do the same again?’, which critically re-evaluates management decisions for kidney cancer cases from a medico-legal perspective. Undoubtedly, this session will trigger discussion on our practice and alert the audience to the implications of such clinical decisions, emphasising that ‘there is no such thing as brave surgeons just brave patients’.

There will be a strong focus on dynamic interaction, as evidenced by thematic Session 2, with a debate on robotic salvage prostatectomy between Declan Murphy and Axel Heidenreich. Another ‘not-to-miss’ event will include Plenary Session 5, with three debates alternating with three state-of-the-art lectures on the latest evidence-based developments in prostate cancer management. A highlight debate on prostate cancer screening will feature Jonas Hugosson and Gerald Andriole taking opposing views on the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. During this ‘head-to-head’ debate, both participants and the audience will re-visit this controversial subject, which has engendered opposing perspectives in Europe and North America.

Latest research will be highlighted, for example, two of the many lectures that will provide up-dates on the latest developments in urological research include: the PROstate MRI Imaging Study (PROMIS) trial results reviewed by Hashim Ahmed and the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial reviewed by Freddie Hamdy (both in Plenary Session 5). Visit https://eau17.uroweb.org/ regularly to stay informed about late breaking news sessions and remember that members of the EAU can reflect further on the meeting by watching all of the plenary sessions online at a later date.

It is clear that European urologists are very active in the fields of clinical and academic research, as evidenced by this edition of BJUI. Nielson et al. [1], review the data from 808 patients in a European registry study of renal cryoablation and comment on the oncological outcomes and complications after laparoscopy-assisted cryoablation. They conclude that the intermediate outcomes are satisfactory, in that 16 patients (3.1%) were diagnosed with residual unablated tumour after a median [interquartile range (IQR)] follow-up of 9.8 (6.0–12.8) months and local progression was diagnosed in 16 patients (3.1%) after a median (IQR) follow-up of 25.3 (18.7–55.8) months. However, they advise that it is important that patients are counselled about potential complications, as these included 47 Clavien–Dindo grade I, 61 grade II, 10 grade IIIa, nine grade IIIb, three grade IVa, one grade IVb, and three grade V complications. There were severe complications (grade ≥IIIa) in 26 patients (3.2%).

Ferro et al. [2] have prospectively evaluated 29 consecutive patients, followed-up for 36 months, after treatment with the Virtue® male sling (Coloplast, Humlebaek, Denmark) for post-radical prostatectomy (RP) stress urinary incontinence (SUI). At 36 months of follow-up, 58.6% used no pads/day. Patient satisfaction remained stable over time, with 25/29 patients reporting a Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I) score of 1 at 12 and 36 months. I concur with the authors that, whilst this series suggest that the Virtue® sling appears to be an effective treatment option for low-to-moderate post-RP SUI, as evidenced by both subjective (patient satisfaction) and objective measures, larger trials are needed to better evaluate the potential of this sling in real-life clinical practice and to compare it with similar devices, using a randomised comparative design. Furthermore, the introduction of prospective databases for all such implants into routine clinical practice is currently being considered and is long overdue.

Christopher R. Chapple, Secretary General of the EAU

Department of Urology, Shefeld Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Shefeld, UK


 
References

 

 

Should we abandon live surgery: reflections after Semi-Live 2017

Prokar_v2Ever since 2002, I have performed live surgery almost every year where it is transmitted to an audience eager to learn. This year I was invited by Markus Hohenfellner to the unique conference, Semi Live 2017 in Heidelberg. To say that it was an eye opener is perhaps stating the obvious. One look at the program will show you that the worlds most respected Urological surgeons had been invited to participate, but with a difference. There was no live surgery. Instead videos of operations – open, laparoscopic and robotic were shared with the attendees “warts and all” as a learning experience. These were not videos designed to show the best parts of an operation. There were plenty of difficult moments, do’s and don’ts and troubleshooting, but all this was achieved without causing harm or potential harm to a single patient.

My highlights were laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy (Gaston), robotic IVC thrombectomy up to the right atrium (Zhang) and reconstructive surgery for the buried penis (Santucci). The event takes place every 2 years and the videos are all available on the meeting app which can be downloaded here and is an outstanding educational resource.

We were treated to a heritage session which included the superstars Walsh, Hautmann, Clayman, Mundy, Schroder and Ghoneim. This was followed by our host Markus Hohenfellner comparing and contrasting the art of Cystectomy and reconstruction by Ghoneim, Stenzl and Studer.

 

Open surgery is certainly not dead yet. The session ended with Seven Pillars of Wisdom from Egypt which turned out to be a big hit on Twitter.

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The editor’s choice session, a new innovation for 2017, allowed me to showcase the Best of BJUI Step by Step, a section that has now replaced Surgery Illustrated with fully indexed and citable HD videos and short papers.

Has live surgery had its day?

Many on Twitter seemed to agree that in 20 years time we might look back and say that it was not the right thing to do.

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Surgeons do not operate “live” every day. Most doctors in a survey, would not subject themselves or their families to be patients during live surgery. Talk about hypocrisy!! Why should it be any different for our patients? Live surgery is NOT a blood sport practised in Roman times….

The counterpoint is that patients often have the services of the best surgeons during live surgery, recorded, edited videos are not quite the same and that the whole affair has become safer thanks to patient advocates and strict guidelines from some organisations like the EAU. Others have banned the practice for good reason. While the debate continues, I for one came away feeling that Semi-Live was as educational, less stressful and much safer for our patients.

 

Prokar Dasgupta @prokarurol
Editor-in-Chief, BJUI 

 

RSM Urology Winter Meeting 2017, Northstar, California

rsm-2017-blogThis year’s Annual RSM Urology Section Winter Meeting, hosted by Roger Kirby and Matt Bultitude, was held in Lake Tahoe, California.

A pre-conference trip to sunny Los Angeles provided a warm-up to the meeting for a group of delegates who flew out early to visit Professor Indy Gill at the Keck School of Medicine.  We were treated to a diverse range of live open, endourological and robotic surgery; highlights included a salvage RARP with extended lymph node dissection and a robotic simple prostatectomy which was presented as an alternative option for units with a robot but no/limited HoLEP expertise.

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On arrival to Northstar, Dr Stacy Loeb (NYU) officially opened the meeting by reviewing the social media urology highlights from 2016. Next up was Professor Joseph Smith (Nashville) who gave us a fascinating insight into the last 100 years of urology as seen through the Journal of Urology. Much like today, prostate cancer and BPH were areas of significant interest although, in contrast, early papers focused heavily on venereal disease, TB and the development of cystoscopy. Perhaps most interesting was a slightly hair-raising description of the management of IVC bleeding from 1927; the operating surgeon was advised to clamp as much tissue as possible, close and then return to theatre a week later in the hopes the bleeding had ceased!

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With the promise of beautifully groomed pistes and stunning views of Lake Tahoe, it was hardly surprising that the meeting was attended by a record number of trainees. One of the highlights of the trainee session was the hilarious balloon debate which saw participants trying to convince the audience of how best to manage BPH in the newly inaugurated President Trump. Although strong arguments were put forward for finasteride, sildenafil, Urolift, PVP and HoLEP, TURP ultimately won the debate. A disclaimer: this was a fictional scenario and, to the best of my knowledge, Donald Trump does not have BPH.

The meeting also provided updates on prostate, renal and bladder cancer. A standout highlight was Professor Nick James’ presentation on STAMPEDE which summarized the trial’s key results and gave us a taste of the upcoming data we can expect to see in the next few years.

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We were fortunate to be joined by prominent American faculty including Dr Trinity Bivalacqua (Johns Hopkins) and Dr Matt Cooperberg (UCSF) who provided state-of-the-art lectures on potential therapeutic targets and biomarkers in bladder and prostate cancer which promise to usher in a new era of personalized therapy.

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A personal highlight was Tuesday’s session on learning from complications. It was great to hear some very senior and experienced surgeons speaking candidly about their worst complications. As a trainee, it served as a reminder that complications are inevitable in surgery and that it is not their absence which distinguishes a good surgeon but rather the ability to manage them well.

There was also plenty for those interested in benign disease, including topical discussions on how to best provide care to an increasingly ageing population with multiple co-morbidities. This was followed by some lively point-counterpoint sessions on robot-assisted versus open renal transplantation (Ravi Barod and Tim O’Brien), Urolift vs TURP (Tom McNicholas and Matt Bultitude) and HOLEP vs prostate artery embolization for BPH (Ben Challacombe and Rick Popert). Professor Culley Carson (University of North Carolina) concluded the session with a state-of-the art lecture on testosterone replacement.

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In addition to the excellent academic programme, delegates enjoyed fantastic skiing with perfect weather and unparalleled views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. For the more adventurous skiiers, there was also a trip to Squaw Valley, the home of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Another highlight was a Western-themed dinner on the shores of Lake Tahoe which culminated in almost all delegates trying their hand at line dancing to varying degrees of success! I have no doubt that next year’s meeting in Corvara, Italy will be equally successful and would especially encourage trainees to attend what promises to be another excellent week of skiing and urological education.

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Miss Niyati Lobo
ST3 Urology Trainee, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

@niyatilobo

 

February Editorial: Raising the bar for systematic reviews with Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR)

The BJUI has a longstanding track record in promoting the dissemination of high-quality unbiased evidence and helping their readership to understand why the principles of evidence-based medicine matter. This devotion is witnessed by the work that goes into every issue of the journal, as well as past initiatives such as providing a level of evidence rating for clinical research articles or publishing educational articles such as the ‘Evidence-Based Urology in Practice’ series [1, 2].

Major foci for clinically oriented specialty journals are systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Systematic reviews have a preeminent role in guiding the practice of evidence medicine by addressing focused clinical questions in a systematic, transparent and reproducible manner. Defining criteria of a high-quality systematic review include: an a priori registered protocol, a comprehensive search of multiple sources including unpublished studies (to avoid publication bias), an assessment of the quality of evidence that goes beyond study design alone, and a thoughtful interpretation of the findings. Systematic reviews inform clinicians and patients at the point of care, form the foundation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, and help shape health policy [3]. They also find frequent citation and can raise a journal’s impact factor. There is therefore more than one good reason for journals to care about the quality of systematic reviews.

Meanwhile, a study in this issue of the BJUI [4] shows that the methodological quality of systematic reviews published in the urological literature is modest, varies substantially, and has failed to improve over time. This contrasts to randomised controlled trials’ reporting quality that appears to have improved substantially over time, probably due to increased awareness among clinical researchers, urology readers and journal reviewers [4, 5]. The study [4] used the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR), a validated 11-item instrument, to measure the methodological quality of systematic reviews with higher scores reflecting better quality.

The authors [4] surveyed four major urological journals and compared the periods 2013–2015 to 2009–2012 and 1998–2008. Despite a dramatic increase in the number of systematic reviews published each year, methodological quality has stagnated with mean AMSTAR scores ± standard deviations of 4.8 ± 2.4 (2013–2015; = 125), 5.4 ± 2.3 (2009–2012; = 113) and 4.8 ± 2.0 (1998–2008; = 57). The average systematic review therefore has deficits in over half the 11 AMSTAR criteria and is of only modest quality thereby undermining our confidence in their results. Although the mean AMSTAR score of 5.6 ± 2.9 for 25 systematic reviews published in the BJUI in 2013–2015 compared favourably to similar studies in other leading urology journals, the difference was not statistically significant.

What are we going to do about it? Inspired by these findings, the BJUI is launching a new initiative to raise awareness for the issue of methodological quality of systematic reviews among its readership and raise the bars for its contributors. Future systematic review authors will be asked to submit an AMSTAR-based checklist to provide enhanced transparency about its methods that will be reviewed as part of the editorial review process. These include documentation of an a priori written protocol and ideally, registration of the systematic review through the Cochrane Collaboration or the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO). Such a protocol should outline all important steps of the review process including the definition of outcomes, study inclusion and exclusion criteria, details about the literature search, study selection and data abstraction process, analytical approach including planned sensitivity and subgroup analyses. Authors should also rate the quality of evidence looking beyond study limitation alone by using an approach such as the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE), which recognises such additional domains such as imprecision, inconsistency, indirectness and publication bias [6]. Critical steps of the systematic review process should be completed in duplicate to guard against random and systematic error and authors should provide readers with the information about who funded the studies included in the review, as well as their own potential conflicts of interests. To guard against publication bias, systematic review authors should also search for ongoing trials and unpublished studies through registries and abstract proceedings.

It is understood that the methodological handiwork that goes into the planning, execution and reporting of a systematic review do not assure clinical relevance or newsworthiness, nor does it address any issues surrounding the limited quality of studies that the review may be summarising. However, it is nevertheless a sine quae no to assure readers that they can be confident of the results. The new BJUI initiative will raise awareness for the issue of systematic review quality by providing a summary AMSTAR score to accompany each article. We hope that with this initiative we will provide a beacon for other specialty journals to follow, with the goal of raising the bar for all published systematic reviews and ultimately leading to improved patient care.

Philipp Dahm

 

Department of Urology, Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System and University of Minnesota , MinneapolisMN, USA


References

 

1 Dahm P, Preminger GM. Introducing levels of evidence to publications in urology. BJU Int 2007; 100: 2467

 

 

 

4 HanJL, Gandhi S, Bockoven CG, Narayan VM, Dahm PThe landscape osystematic reviews in urology (1998 to 2015): an assessment of methodological quality. BJU Int 2016 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/bju.13653.

 

5 Narayan VM, Cone EB, Smith D, Scales CD Jr, Dahm P. Improved reporting of randomized controlled trials in the urologic literature. Eur Urol 2016; 70: 10449

 

6 Guyatt GH, Oxman AD, Vist GE et al. What is quality of evidence and why is it important to clinicians? BMJ 2008; 336: 9958

 

The times they are a-changin’

The other day, as the New York Times was getting excited about Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan new album ‘Triplicate’, I had the opportunity of remembering one of his classic songs. Let me explain. I turned up at the School of Surgery in central London for an academic committee meeting early that morning only to find that it had been cancelled. Due to a IT problem the email with this information never reached me! Rather than brave the London tube again, I decided to walk back to my hospital, which took me past my old hospital which sadly no longer exists.

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The old hospital in question was The Middlesex Hospital in Mortimer Street, London (Fig.1). The original institution was built in 1745 at Windmill Street and moved in 1757 to Mortimer Street. I arrived there over 20 years ago to train at the Institute of Urology/St. Peter’s Hospital, a highly desirable post amongst surgical residents.

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The Middlesex Hospital was closed in 2005 and sold to developers. It now houses swanky apartments and businesses around a beautiful Pearson Square, named after John Loughborough Pearson, who designed the Fitzrovia Chapel (Fig. 2) in 1890 inside the hospital. The Chapel survived the redevelopment as it is a protected building. So did one of the walls of the old hospital along Nassau Street which housed the radiotherapy building (Fig. 3). That facade has been preserved beautifully although there are no patients housed behind it anymore (Fig. 4).

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So why I am telling you all this? Nostalgia you may say. But in fact much more. The 3 mile walk that morning allowed me to reflect on my own contribution to science and that of two friends who although slightly ahead of me in the training program at The Middlesex Hospital are gentlemen that I greatly admire.

One is Mark Emberton, now Professor at UCL, who has, through the PROMIS study, established the use of MRI prior to prostate biopsies rather than random TRUS biopsies for patients with a raised PSA. The other is David Ralph, an acclaimed Andrologist, who has just published our Priapism Guidelines, a must read for everyone managing this emergency. There is no doubt that both have made significant contributions to British Urology and patient care in the last 20 years during which so many things have changed.

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As for me, I headed to Queen Square from The Middlesex Hospital, where many years of basic research in a Medical Research Council (MRC) funded lab led to the description of the so called “Dasgupta technique” of injecting Botox into overactive bladders. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it had made its way into a number of texts including Smith’s Textbook of Endourology.

There are however certain things that do not change much. Next to the Middlesex Hospital, on Cleveland Street was the legendary Ragam’s (Fig. 5), which many would regard as THE go to South Indian restaurant. The masala dosa (pancake with spicy potatoes and hot lentil soup) used to cost £3.95 in 1994; 20 years later the price has gone up by only £2 to £5.95 (Fig. 6), while the quality remains as outstanding as ever.

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Prokar Dasgupta @prokarurol
Editor-in-Chief, BJUI 

 

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