Tag Archive for: robotics

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Editorial: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy – the ‘gold standard’ when performed appropriately

Since its development 25 years ago, laparoscopic adrenalectomy (LA) has played a major role in the management of adrenal diseases. The guideline by the International Consultation on Urological Diseases-European Association of Urology (ICUD-EAU) International Consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology, published in this month’s issue of BJUI [1], will further expand the appropriate use of LA to a majority of patients.

After the development of laparoscopic nephrectomy in 1990, the idea of LA was conceived by several urologists and endocrine surgeons. The first LA was performed by Go et al. [2] in January of 1992 in Japan, and the first results were published by Higashihara et al. [3] in July 1992, followed by results from Gagner et al. [4] in October 1992 [4].

Nowadays, almost all clinical guidelines strongly recommend laparoscopic surgery as the ‘gold standard’ approach to non-invasive small benign adrenal tumours. Even though there are no prospective randomized studies comparing laparoscopic and open adrenalectomies, there is a consensus that LA is associated with less postoperative pain, earlier recovery and similar long-term outcomes compared with open surgery. The conclusion in the present guideline is very acceptable.

Many comparative studies also support LA for pheochrmocytoma; however, a great concern is capsular injury during the operation. The incidence of malignancy in pheochromocytoma is >10%, and tumour spillage during laparoscopic surgery has been reported in the literature [5]. Avoiding capsular injury during adrenal surgery is very important, not only for pheochromocytoma, but also for all adrenal tumours. Even if the preoperative diagnosis is adrenocortical adenoma, some tumours could be adrenocortical cancer, especially when the tumour is >4 cm in diameter. Because the incidence of malignancy in paragangliomas is much higher, it is recommended that paragangliomas be resected by open surgery [6]. For small, non-invasive paragangliomas in surgically favourable locations, laparoscopic surgery could be an option based on the surgeon’s experience.

Indications for LA for malignant tumours is a matter of debate. It depends purely on the surgeon’s experience. The European Society for Medical Oncology Clinical Practice Guidelines for adrenal cancer in 2012 recommend LA as a safe and effective procedure for a select group of patients with small adrenocortical cancers without preoperative evidence of invasiveness. Small non-invasive metastatic adrenal tumours are also candidates for laparoscopic surgery. Most importantly, standard principles of oncological surgical treatment should be strictly respected, and open conversion is warranted when difficult dissection is encountered such as in cases of tumour adhesion or invasion or enlarged lymph nodes.

With regard to the laparoscopic approach to the adrenal tumour, the transperitoneal approach makes it easier to understand the surgical anatomy and may be suitable for less experienced surgeons when compared with retroperitoneal approaches; however, in cases when the transperitoneal approach is not suitable because of previous abdominal surgery, retroperitoneal approaches should be selected. As described in this guideline for the retroperitoneal approaches, the posterior approach has been reported frequently in the literature, with similar peri-operative outcomes to those of the transperitoneal approach. The posterior approach is unique, however, because of the prone position of the patient, and surgeons are required to have an understanding of anatomy in the prone position. The majority of urologists are more familiar with the lateral retroperitoneal approach, which is widely used for laparoscopic nephrectomy.

In conclusion, minimally invasive surgery, including laparoendoscopic single-site surgery and robot-assisted surgery, is desired by patients with adrenal diseases. In the USA, 60% of adrenalectomies are performed by urologists, while the rest are performed by endocrine surgeons [7]. Appropriate indications for and skilled performance of LA or robot-assisted adrenalectomy are critical if urologists are to be selected by endocrinologists and patients.

Tadashi Matsuda, President of the Endourological Society
Department of Urology and Andrology, Kansai Medical University, Hirakata, Japan

 

References

 

 

2 GoH, Takeda M, Takahashi H et al. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy for primary aldosteronism: a new operative method. J Laparoendosc Surg 1993; 3: 4559

 

3 Higashihara E, Tanaka Y, Horie S et al. A case report of laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Nihon Hinyokika Gakkai Zasshi 1992; 83: 11303

 

4 Gagner M, Lacroix A, BolteE. Laparoscopic adrenalectomy in Cushingsyndrome and pheochromocytoma. N Engl J Med 1992; 327: 1033

 

LiML, Fitzgerald PA, Price DC, Norton JA. Iatrogenic pheochromocytomatosis: a previously unreported result of laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Surgery 2001; 130: 10727

 

6 Lenders JWM, Duh Q-Y, Eisenhofer G et al. Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2014; 99: 191542

 

7 Monn MF, Calaway AC, Mellon MJ et al. Changing USA national trends for adrenalectomy: the inuence of surgeon and technique. BJU Int 2015; 115: 28894

 

Video: International Consultation on Urological Diseases and European Association of Urology International Consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology: laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomy

International Consultation on Urological Diseases and European Association of Urology International Consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology: laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomy

Mark W. Ball*, Ashok K. Hemal† and Mohamad E. Allaf*

 

*James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute and Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, and Department of Urology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

 

Abstract

The aim of this study was to provide an evidence-based systematic review of the use of laparoscopic and robotic adrenalectomy in the treatment of adrenal disease as part of the International Consultation on Urological Diseases and European Association of Urology consultation on Minimally Invasive Surgery in Urology. A systematic literature search (January 2004 to January 2014) was conducted to identify comparative studies assessing the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive adrenal surgery. Subtopics including the role of minimally invasive surgery for pheochromocytoma, adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and large adrenal tumours were examined. Additionally, the role of transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches, as well as laparoendoscopic single-site (LESS) and robotic adrenalectomy were reviewed. The major findings are presented in an evidence-based fashion. Large retrospective and prospective data were analysed and a set of recommendations provided by the committee was produced. Laparoscopic surgery should be considered the first-line therapy for benign adrenal masses requiring surgical resection and for patients with pheochromocytoma. While a laparoscopic approach may be feasible for selected cases of ACC without adjacent organ involvement, an open surgical approach remains the ‘gold standard’. Large adrenal tumours without preoperative or intra-operative suspicion of ACC may be safely resected via a laparoscopic approach. Both transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches to laparoscopic adrenalectomy are safe. The approach should be chosen based on surgeon training and experience. LESS and robotic adrenalectomy should be considered as alternatives to laparoscopic adrenalectomy but require further study.

 

aotwjan3-reults

 

Article of the Week: Performance of robotic simulated skills tasks is positively associated with clinical robotic surgical performance

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 Alvin Goh, discussing his paper.

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

Performance of robotic simulated skills tasks is positively associated with clinical robotic surgical performance

 

Monty A. Aghazadeh*,, Miguel A. Mercado*,, Michael M. Pan, Brian J. Miles
‡ and Alvin C. Goh*,

 

*Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation, and Education (MITIE), Houston Methodist Hospital, Scott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, and Department of Urology, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

 

Objective

To compare user performance of four fundamental inanimate robotic skills tasks (FIRST) as well as eight da Vinci Skills Simulator (dVSS) virtual reality tasks with intra-operative performance (concurrent validity) during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) and to show that a positive correlation exists between simulation and intra-operative performance.

Materials and Methods

A total of 21 urological surgeons with varying robotic experience were enrolled. Demographics were captured using a standardized questionnaire. User performance was assessed concurrently in simulated (FIRST exercises and dVSS tasks) and clinical environments (endopelvic dissection during RARP). Intra-operative robotic clinical performance was scored using the previously validated six-metric Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Skills (GEARS) tool. The relationship between simulator and clinical performance was evaluated using Spearman’s rank correlation.

dffdbd

Results

Performance was assessed in 17 trainees and four expert robotic surgeons with a median (range) number of previous robotic cases (as primary surgeon) of 0 (0–55) and 117 (58–600), respectively (P = 0.001). Collectively, the overall FIRST (ρ = 0.833, P < 0.001) and dVSS (ρ = 0.805, P < 0.001) simulation scores correlated highly with GEARS performance score. Each individual FIRST and dVSS task score also demonstrated a significant correlation with intra-operative performance, with the exception of Energy Switcher 1 exercise (P = 0.063).

Conclusions

This is the first study to show a significant relationship between simulated robotic performance and robotic clinical performance. Findings support implementation of these robotic training tools in a standardized robotic training curriculum.

Editorial: Robotic simulation: are we ready to go?

In a study in this issue of BJUI, Aghazadeh et al. [1] were able to show that there was a significant relationship between simulated robotic performance and robotic clinical performance. The authors conclude that this supports the implementation of such robotic training tools in a standardized robotic training curriculum. Evidently, particularly in minimally invasive surgery, we must assess and learn from our surgical errors in order to prevent them in future [2]. For this, the dream scenario would be the ability to simulate a surgical procedure before being allowed to perform the real operation on the patient, similarly to pilots being trained on a flight simulator [3]. A robotic (virtual) simulator would be the ideal way to provide training on the respective robot-assisted procedure [1].

The authors are to be congratulated in their effort to prove the transfer validity of their training model using 12 previously validated robotic skill tasks consisting of four inanimate models and eight selected virtual reality tasks on the da Vinci Skills Simulator [1]. Endopelvic fascial dissection during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy was chosen to assess clinical robotic performance. Trainees were evaluated using the Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Skills (GEARS) scoring system, which distinguishes among depth perception, bimanual dexterity, efficiency, force sensitivity, autonomy, robotic control in relationship to the case difficulty using scores ranging from 1 to 5.

Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go! The authors have already conceded that there are some limitations to their study. It involved a small cohort of urological surgeons of different levels of expertise. It was not a randomized study comparing the impact of virtual simulator training on the surgical outcome, therefore, the authors could only show that they might be able to predict a surgeon’s performance during a real case based on his/her performance at the simulator. Based on this, the simulator training could theoretically pre-assess surgeon’s quality in robot-assisted surgery.

The authors probably chose endopelvic dissection because it represents a relatively easy part of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. Accordingly, it remains unclear whether such basic tasks are really the best models to prepare a surgeon for this operation. Using low-fidelity training models, including vesico-urethral anastomosis, we were able to demonstrate the transfer validity of a six-step training programme [4]. It would be interesting to see the impact of the simulator training on clinical performance of robot-assisted vesico-urethral anastomosis because a valuable exercise for this already exists on the da Vinci Skills Simulator.

Despite this progress, we must recognize that we are far away from equalling the simulator training of pilots [3]. It is much easier to simulate turbulence during a flight than significant bleeding during robot-assisted surgery. Trials in simulating a complete laparoscopic procedure are still in their infancy [5]. This may differ with regard to other minimally invasive procedures such as ureteroscopy, where sophisticated trainer exercises exist; however, even in this field there is actually no proven evidence of the significant impact of simulators on shortening the learning curve. For all ‘hands-on’ simulation there will be always the problem of soft-tissue engineering and navigation [6]. Robotic simulators have the advantage compared with laparoscopy of three-dimensional video technology and the fact that there is no tactile feedback for the surgeon.

Evidently, information technology is continuously advancing and we may one day have a robotic simulator that can compare with the flight simulators used in aviation; however, to date, only training on basic skills can be provided and evaluated using the existing simulation systems in urology.

Jens Rassweiler
Department of Urology, SLK Kliniken Heilbronn, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg , Germany

 

1 Aghazadeh MA, Mercado MA, Pan MM, Miles BJ, Goh AC.

 

2 Rassweiler MC, Mamoulakis C, Kenngott HG et al. Classication and
171321

 

3 Sommer KJ. Pilot training: what can surgeons learn from it? Arab J Urol 2014; 12: 325

 

5 Shamim Khan M, Ahmed K, Gavazzi A et al. Development and
51823

 

6 Baumhauer M, Feuerstein M, Meinzer HP, Rassweiler J. Navigation in

 

Video: Performance of robotic simulated skills tasks is positively associated with clinical robotic surgical performance

Performance of robotic simulated skills tasks is positively associated with clinical robotic surgical performance

Monty A. Aghazadeh*,, Miguel A. Mercado*,, Michael M. Pan, Brian J. Miles
‡ and Alvin C. Goh*,

 

*Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation, and Education (MITIE), Houston Methodist Hospital, Scott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, and Department of Urology, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA

 

Objective

To compare user performance of four fundamental inanimate robotic skills tasks (FIRST) as well as eight da Vinci Skills Simulator (dVSS) virtual reality tasks with intra-operative performance (concurrent validity) during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) and to show that a positive correlation exists between simulation and intra-operative performance.

Materials and Methods

A total of 21 urological surgeons with varying robotic experience were enrolled. Demographics were captured using a standardized questionnaire. User performance was assessed concurrently in simulated (FIRST exercises and dVSS tasks) and clinical environments (endopelvic dissection during RARP). Intra-operative robotic clinical performance was scored using the previously validated six-metric Global Evaluative Assessment of Robotic Skills (GEARS) tool. The relationship between simulator and clinical performance was evaluated using Spearman’s rank correlation.

dffdbd

Results

Performance was assessed in 17 trainees and four expert robotic surgeons with a median (range) number of previous robotic cases (as primary surgeon) of 0 (0–55) and 117 (58–600), respectively (P = 0.001). Collectively, the overall FIRST (ρ = 0.833, P < 0.001) and dVSS (ρ = 0.805, P < 0.001) simulation scores correlated highly with GEARS performance score. Each individual FIRST and dVSS task score also demonstrated a significant correlation with intra-operative performance, with the exception of Energy Switcher 1 exercise (P = 0.063).

Conclusions

This is the first study to show a significant relationship between simulated robotic performance and robotic clinical performance. Findings support implementation of these robotic training tools in a standardized robotic training curriculum.

Randomised Controlled Trials in Robotic Surgery

PDGSep16It has been nearly 15 years since one of the first ever randomised controlled trials (RCT) in robotic surgery was conducted in 2002. The STAR-TRAK compared telerobotic percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) to standard PCNL and showed that the robot was slower but more accurate than the human hand [1].

In the 24 h since the much anticipated RCT of open vs robot-assisted radical prostatectomy was published in The Lancet [2], our BJUI blog from @declangmurphy was viewed >2500 times, receiving >40 comments, making it one of our most read and interactive blogs ever. It is a negative trial showing no differences in early functional outcomes between the two approaches.

And it is not the only negative trial of its kind as a number of others have matured and reported recently. The RCT of open vs robot-assisted radical cystectomy and extracorporeal urinary diversion showed no differences in the two arms [3], and likewise a comparison of the two approaches to cystectomy as a prelude to the RAZOR (randomised open vs robotic cystectomy) trial showed no differences in quality of life at 3-monthly time points up to a year [4]. The only RCT comparing open, laparoscopic and robotic cystectomy, the CORAL, took a long time to recruit and yet again showed no differences in 90-day complication rates between the three techniques [5].

In all likelihood, despite the level 1 evidence provided in The Lancet paper showing no superiority of the robotic over the open approach, the Brisbane study may not change the current dominance of robotic prostatectomy in those countries who can afford this technology. Why is this? Apart from the inherent limitations that the BJUI blog identifies, there are other factors to consider. In particular, as observed previously in a memorable article ‘Why don’t Mercedes Benz publish randomised trials?’ [6], there may be reasons why surgical technique is not always suited to the RCT format.

A few additional reflections are perhaps appropriate at this time:

  1. Despite the best statistical input many of these and future studies are perhaps underpowered.
  2. Many have argued that the RCTs have shown robotics to be as good, although not better than open surgery, even in the hands of less experienced surgeons.
  3. Patient reported quality of life should perhaps become the primary outcome measure because that in the end that is what truly matters.
  4. Cost-effectiveness ratios should feature prominently, as otherwise there is much speculation by the lay press without any hard data.
  5. Industry has a role to play here in keeping costs manageable, so that these ratios can become more palatable to payers.
  6. Surgery is more of an art than a science. The best surgeons armed with the best technology that they are comfortable with will achieve the best outcomes for their patients.

While this debate will continue and influence national healthcare providers and decision makers, the message looks much clearer when it comes to training the next generation of robotic surgeons. A cognitive- and performance-based RCT using a device to simulate vesico-urethral anastomosis after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) showed a clear advantage in favour of such structured training [7]. In this months’ issue of the BJUI, we present the first predictive validity of robotic simulation showing better clinical performance of RARP in patients [8]. This is a major step forward in patient safety and would reassure policy makers that investment in simulation of robotic technology rather than the traditional unstructured training is the way forward.

Most of our patients are knowledgeable, extensively research their options on ‘Dr Google’ and decide what is good for them. It is for this reason that many did not agree to randomisation in other robotic vs open surgery RCTs, like LopeRA (RCT of laparoscopic, open and robot assisted prostatectomy as treatment for organ-confined prostate cancer) and BOLERO (Bladder cancer: Open vs Lapararoscopic or RObotic cystectomy). Many of them continue to choose robotic surgery without necessarily paying heed to the best scientific evidence. Perhaps what patients will now do is select an experienced surgeon whom they can trust to use their best technology to deliver the best clinical outcomes.

Prokar Dasgupta @prokarurol
Editor-in-Chief, BJUI 

@declangmurphy

Associate Editor BJUI

References

2 Yaxley JW, Coughlin GD, Chambe rs SK et al. Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy versus open radical retropubic prostatectomy: early outcomes from a randomised controlled phase 3 study. Lancet 2016 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30592-X
3 Bochner BH, Sjoberg DD, Laudone VP, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Bladder Cancer Surgical Trials Group. A randomized trial of robot-assisted laparoscopic radical cystectomy. N Engl J Med 2014; 371:38990

4

Messer JC, Punnen S , Fitzgerald J et al. Health-related quality of life from a

6 OBrien T, Viney R , Doherty A, Thomas K. Why dont Mercedes Benz publish
randomised trials? BJU Int 2010; 105 : 2935
8 Aghazadeh MA, Mercado MA, Pan MM , Miles BJ, Goh AC. Performance of

 

Highlights from BAUS 2016

1.1

In the week following Britain’s exit from Europe after the BREXIT referendum, BAUS 2016 got underway in Liverpool’s BT convention Centre. This was the 72nd meeting of the British Association of Urological Surgeons and it was well attended with 1120 delegates (50% Consultant Member Urologists, 30% Trainees, 10% Non member Urologists/Other, 10% Nurses, HCP’S, Scientists).

1.2

Monday saw a cautionary session on medicolegal aspects in Andrology, focusing on lawsuits over the last year. Mr Mark Speakman presented on the management issue of testicular torsion. This sparked further discussion on emergency cover for paediatrics with particular uncertainty noted at 4 and 5 year olds and great variation in approach dependent on local trust policy. Mr Julian Shah noted the most litigious areas of andrology, with focus on cosmesis following circumcisions. Therefore serving a reminder on the importance of good consent to manage patients’ expectations.

1.3

In the Dragons’ Den, like the TV show, junior urologists pitched their ideas for collaborative research projects, to an expert panel. This year’s panel was made up of – Mark Emberton, Ian Pearce, and Graeme MacLennan. The session was chaired by Veeru Kasivisvanathan, Chair of the BURST Research Collaborative.

1.4

Eventual winner Ben Lamb, a trainee from London, presented “Just add water”. The pitch was for an RCT to investigate the efficacy of water irrigation following TURBT against MMC in reducing tumour recurrence. Ben proposed that water, with its experimental tumouricidal properties, might provide a low risk, low cost alternative as an adjuvant agent following TURBT. Judges liked the scientific basis for this study and the initial planning for an RCT. The panel discussed the merits of non-inferiority vs. superiority methodology, and whether the team might compare MMC to MMC with the addition of water, or water instead of MMC. They Dragons’ suggested that an initial focus group to investigate patients’ views on chemotherapy might help to focus the investigation and give credence to the final research question, important when making the next pitch- to a funding body, or ethics committee.

Other proposals were from Ryad Chebbout, working with Marcus Cumberbatch, an academic trainee from Sheffield. Proposing to address the current controversy over the optimal surgical technique for orchidopexy following testicular torsion. His idea involved conducting a systematic review, a national survey of current practice followed by a Delphi consensus meeting to produce evidence based statement of best practice. The final presentation was from Sophia Cashman, East of England Trainee for an RCT to assess the optimal timing for a TWOC after urinary retention. The panel liked the idea of finally nailing down an answer to this age-old question.

1.5

Waking up on Tuesday with England out of the European football cup as well as Europe the conference got underway with an update from the PROMIS trial (use of MRI to detect prostate cancer). Early data shows that multi-parametric MRI may be accurate enough to help avoid some prostate biopsies.

1.6

The SURG meeting provided useful information for trainees, with advice on progressing through training and Consultant interviews. A debate was held over run through training, which may well be returning in the future. The Silver cystoscope was awarded to Professor Rob Pickard voted for by the trainees in his deanery, for his devotion to their training.
Wednesday continued the debate on medical expulsion therapy (MET) for ureteric stones following the SUSPEND trial. Most UK Urologists seem to follow the results of the trial and have stopped prescribing alpha blockers to try and aid stone passage and symptoms. However the AUA are yet to adopt this stance and feel that a sub analysis shows some benefit for stones >5mm, although this is not significant and pragmatic outcomes. Assistant Professor John Hollingsworth (USA) argued for MET, with Professor Sam McClinton (UK) against. A live poll at the end of the session showed 62.9% of the audience persuaded to follow the SUSPEND trial evidence and stop prescribing MET.

1.7

In the debate of digital versus fibreoptic scopes for flexible ureteroscopy digital triumphed, but with a narrow margin.

1.8

In other updates and breaking news it appears that BCG is back! However during the shortage EMDA has shown itself to be a promising alternative in the treatment of high grade superficial bladder cancer.
The latest BAUS nephrectomy data shows that 90% are performed by consultant, with 16 on average per consultant per year. This raises some issues for registrar training, however with BAUS guidelines likely to suggest 20 as indicative numbers this is looking to be an achievable target for most consultants. Robotic advocates will be encouraged, as robotic partial nephrectomy numbers have overtaken open this year. The data shows 36% of kidney tumours in the under 40 years old are benign. Will we have to consider biopsying more often? However data suggests we should be offering more cytoreductive nephrectomies, with only roughly 1/10 in the UK performed compared to 3/10 in the USA.

1.91.10

The andrology section called for more recruitment to The MASTER trial (Male slings vs artificial urinary sphincters), whereas the OPEN trial has recruited(open urethroplasty vs optical urethotomy). In the treatment of Peyronie’s disease collagenase has been approved by NICE but not yet within the NHS.

Endoluminal endourology presentation showed big increases in operative numbers with ureteroscopy up by 50% and flexible ureteroscopy up by 100%. Stents on strings were advocated to avoid troubling stent symptoms experienced by most patients. New evidence may help provide a consensus on defining “stone free” post operation. Any residual stones post-operatively less than 2mm were shown to pass spontaneously and therefore perhaps may be classed as “stone free”.

Big changes seem likely in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, with a race to replace the old favorite TURP. Trials have of TURP (mono and bipolar) vs greenlight laser are already showing similar 2 year outcomes with the added benefit of shorter hospital stays and less blood loss. UROLIFT is an ever more popular alternative with data showing superiority to TURP in lifestyle measures, likely because it preserves sexual function, and we are told it can be performed as a 15 minute day case operation. The latest new therapy is apparently “Aquabeam Aquablation”, using high pressured water to remove the prostate. Non surgical treatments are also advancing with ever more accurate super selective embolisation of the prostatic blood supply.

1.11

This year all accepted abstracts were presented in moderated EPoster sessions. The format was extremely successful removing the need for paper at future conferences? A total of 538 abstracts were submitted and 168 EPosters displayed. The winner of best EPoster was P5-5 Altaf Mangera: Bladder Cancer in the Neuropathic Bladder.

1.12

The best Academic Paper winner was Mark Salji of the CRUK Beatson institute, titled “A Urinary Peptide Biomarker Panel to Identify Significant Prostate Cancer”. Using capillary electrophoresis coupled to mass spectrometry (CE-MS) they analysed 313 urine samples from significant prostate cancer patients (Gleason 8-10 or T3/4 disease) and low grade control disease. They identified 94 peptide urine biomarkers which may provide a useful adjunct in identifying significant prostate cancer from insignificant disease.

The Office of Education offered 20 courses. Popular off-site courses were ultrasound for the Urologist, at Broadgreen Hospital, a slightly painful 30 min drive from the conference centre. However well worth the trip, delivered by Radiology consultants this included the chance to scan patients volunteers under guidance, with separate stations for kidneys, bladder and testicles and learning the “knobology” of the machines.

Organised by Tamsin Greenwell with other consultant experts in female, andrology and retroperitoneal cancer, a human cadaveric anatomy course was held at Liverpool university. The anatomy teaching was delivered by both Urology consultants and anatomists allowing for an excellent combination of theory and functional anatomy.

BAUS social events are renowned and with multiple events planned most evenings were pretty lively. The official drinks reception was held at the beautiful Royal Liver Building. The venue was stunning with great views over the waterfront and the sun finally shining. Several awards were presented including the Gold cystoscope to Mr John McGrath for significant contribution to Urology within 10 years appointment as consultant. The Keith Yeates medal was awarded to Mr Raj Pal, the most outstanding candidate in the first sitting of the intercollegiate specilaity examination, with a score of over 80%.

1.13

During the conference other BAUS awards presented include the St Peter’s medal was awarded to Margeret Knowles, Head of section of molecular oncology, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, St James University hospital Leeds. The St Paul’s medal awarded to Professor Joseph A. Smith, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA. The Gold medal went to Mr. Tim Terry, Leicester General Hospital.

An excellent industry exhibition was on display, with 75 Exhibiting Companies present. My personal fun highlight was a flexible cystoscope with integrated stent remover, which sparked Top Gear style competiveness when the manufacturer set up a time-trial leaderboard. Obviously this best demonstrated the speed of stent removal with some interesting results…

1.14

Social media review shows good contribution daily.

1.15

1.16
Thanks BAUS a great conference, very well organised and delivered with a great educational and social content, looking forward to Glasgow 2017! #BAUS2017 #Glasgow #BAUSurology

Nishant Bedi

Specialist Training Registrar North West London 

Twitter: @nishbedi

 

Article of the Week: Predicting pathological outcomes in patients undergoing RARP for high-risk 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. Firas Abdollah, discussing his paper. 

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

Predicting Pathologic Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy for High Risk Prostate Cancer:  A Preoperative Nomogram

Firas Abdollah, Dane E. Klett, Akshay Sood, Jesse D. Sammon, Daniel PucherilDeepansh Dalela, Mireya Diaz, James O. Peabody, Quoc-Dien Trinh* and Mani Menon

 

Vattikuti Urology Institute, Center for Outcomes Research Analytics and Evaluation, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, and *Division of Urologic Surgery/Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

 

OBJECTIVE

To identify which high-risk patients with prostate cancer may harbour favourable pathological outcomes at radical prostatectomy (RP).

PATIENTS AND METHODS

We evaluated 810 patients with high-risk prostate cancer, defined as having one or more of the following: PSA level of >20 ng/mL, Gleason score ≥8, clinical stage ≥T2c. Patients underwent robot-assisted RP (RARP) with pelvic lymph node dissection, between 2003 and 2012, in one centre. Only 1.6% (13/810) of patients received any adjuvant treatment. Favourable pathological outcome was defined as specimen-confined disease (SCD; pT2–T3a, node negative, and negative surgical margins) at RARP-specimen. Logistic regression models were used to test the relationship among all available predicators and harbouring SCD. A logistic regression coefficient-based nomogram was constructed and internally validated using 200 bootstrap resamples. Kaplan–Meier method estimated biochemical recurrence (BCR)-free and cancer-specific mortality (CSM)-free survival rates, after stratification according to pathological disease status.

RESULTS

Overall, 55.2% patients harboured SCD at RARP. At multivariable analysis, PSA level, clinical stage, primary/secondary Gleason scores, and maximum percentage tumour quartiles were all independent predictors of SCD (all P < 0.04). A nomogram based on these variables showed 76% discrimination accuracy in predicting SCD, and very favourable calibration characteristics. Patients with SCD had significantly higher 8-year BCR- (72.7% vs 31.7%, P < 0.001) and CSM-free survival rates (100% vs 86.9%, P < 0.001) than patients with non-SCD.

CONCLUSIONS

We developed a novel nomogram predicting SCD at RARP. Patients with SCD achieved favourable long-term BCR- and CSM-free survival rates after RARP. The nomogram may be used to support clinical decision-making, and aid in selection of patients with high-risk prostate cancer most likely to benefit from RARP.

Editorial: More Nomograms or Better Lymph node dissection – What do we need in Prostate Cancer?

The publication of nomograms to predict radical prostatectomy (RP) outcome using preoperative parameters were important steps in urological oncology. Abdollah et al. [1], in this issue of BJU International, present a new nomogram to predict specimen-confined disease (SCD; pT2–3a, pN0 R0) in men with high-risk prostate cancer undergoing pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) and robot-assisted RP (RARP). They used statistical logistic regression to measure the impact of various preoperatively available clinicopathological parameters on the likelihood of pathological outcome and tumour recurrence. The final nomogram accurately identified SCD (pT2–3a, pN0 R0) in 76% of the patients. It is intuitive that these patients have good long-term oncological outcomes after surgery. Consequently, Abdollah et al. found excellent 8-year cancer-specific survival rates in these patients. Because nomograms provide individualised risk prediction for patients in an easily applicable manner, they have become very popular among clinicians. Nomograms are now being applied for almost every aspect of prostate cancer. These are freely available and both patients and physicians are encouraged to use them.

Although nomograms undoubtedly have improved our perspective of disease behaviour and individual patient prediction, several key questions remain. First, how good are the input data to a nomogram? Abdollah et al. [1] evaluated 810 patients with high-risk prostate cancer treated in a single large centre between 2003 and 2012. Impressively, more than half of the patients (55%) harboured SCD at RARP. Such a high chance of having SCD will probably encourage many physicians and patients to choose surgery, even without using a nomogram, because this approach may avoid the need for hormonal treatment, which is obligatory for radiation therapy in high-risk prostate cancer. Second, is the predictive accuracy safe within clinical practice? Most nomograms using clinicopathological data generate predictive accuracies within the range of 75–90% (including the nomogram presented by Abdollah et al. [1]). It is of special importance to consider that 64/447 (14%) of the patients with SCD in the series reported by Abdollah et al. [1] received salvage treatment, which was initiated after a median (interquartile range, IQR) of 4.8 (1.4–9.3) months, and the indication to initiate this salvage therapy was PSA recurrence. Obviously, these patients did not have specimen confined disease and were misclassified. In this case, one might postulate a persistence of nodal disease, given an inadequate extent of PLND. Abdollah et al. [1] reported on a median (IQR) of 5 (3.0–11.0) lymph nodes removed.

In their landmark paper on extended PLND (ePLND) in cadavers, Weingartner et al. [2] demonstrated that a mean lymph node yield of 20 serves as a guideline for sufficient ePLND. More than 10 years ago, Heidenreich et al. [3] reported on a 15% higher rate of lymph node metastasis detection when comparing ePLND with the standard LND (obturator). Bader et al. [4] provided further evidence that an ePLND is needed to provide adequate clinical staging and potential therapeutic benefit. Of 365 patients with clinically localised prostate cancer, 88 (24%) had positive lymph nodes. In this series, a pelvic LND that spared the internal iliac bed would have left 58% of patients with positive nodes with residual disease and 19% would have been incorrectly staged as lymph node-negative for cancer. These data were recently confirmed by several authors when analysing retrospective series. Furthermore, Seiler et al. [5] updated their series of 88 patients and recently reported on the long-term outcome after a median follow-up of 15.6 years. They showed that 18% of those patients with one positive node remained biochemical recurrence free, 28% showed biochemical recurrence only, and 54% had clinical progression. Of these 39 patients, 57% never required deferred androgen-deprivation therapy. In contrast, patients with multiple positive nodes are likely to experience rapid progression and, thus, may benefit from early adjuvant therapies. International clinical practice guidelines recommend the performance of an anatomically ePLND at RP in men with high-risk prostate cancer, for both staging and therapeutic purposes.

Nowadays, most urologists claim to perform an ePLND. However, a recent analysis among 50 671 men who were surgically treated with RP from 2010 to 2011 in the USA showed that, overall, only 69.3% of the high-risk patients underwent concomitant PLND [6]. Surgical approach and hospital characteristics were associated with treatment with PLND and detection of lymph node metastasis. More specifically, patients with prostate cancer undergoing open RP or surgically treated at high-volume centres were more likely to undergo PLND than those undergoing RARP or surgically treated at low-volume centres.

Despite the strong evidence that ePLND positively affects survival in men with limited lymph node involvement, this procedure is not commonly performed. The reasons for this are multiple and include expertise, stage migration and functional and oncological outcomes, as well as economics and the introduction of laparoscopic and laparoscopic RARP. However, this is no reason not to offer the patient, if possible, an operation which has the highest chance of cure

Martin Spahn
Department of Urology, University Hospital Bern , InselspitalBern, Switzerland

 

References

 

 

Video: Predicting pathological outcomes in patients undergoing RARP for high-risk prostate cancer: A Preoperative Nomogram

Predicting Pathologic Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy for High Risk Prostate Cancer:  A Preoperative Nomogram

Firas Abdollah, Dane E. Klett, Akshay Sood, Jesse D. Sammon, Daniel PucherilDeepansh Dalela, Mireya Diaz, James O. Peabody, Quoc-Dien Trinh* and Mani Menon

 

Vattikuti Urology Institute, Center for Outcomes Research Analytics and Evaluation, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, and *Division of Urologic Surgery/Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

 

OBJECTIVE

To identify which high-risk patients with prostate cancer may harbour favourable pathological outcomes at radical prostatectomy (RP).

PATIENTS AND METHODS

We evaluated 810 patients with high-risk prostate cancer, defined as having one or more of the following: PSA level of >20 ng/mL, Gleason score ≥8, clinical stage ≥T2c. Patients underwent robot-assisted RP (RARP) with pelvic lymph node dissection, between 2003 and 2012, in one centre. Only 1.6% (13/810) of patients received any adjuvant treatment. Favourable pathological outcome was defined as specimen-confined disease (SCD; pT2–T3a, node negative, and negative surgical margins) at RARP-specimen. Logistic regression models were used to test the relationship among all available predicators and harbouring SCD. A logistic regression coefficient-based nomogram was constructed and internally validated using 200 bootstrap resamples. Kaplan–Meier method estimated biochemical recurrence (BCR)-free and cancer-specific mortality (CSM)-free survival rates, after stratification according to pathological disease status.

RESULTS

Overall, 55.2% patients harboured SCD at RARP. At multivariable analysis, PSA level, clinical stage, primary/secondary Gleason scores, and maximum percentage tumour quartiles were all independent predictors of SCD (all P < 0.04). A nomogram based on these variables showed 76% discrimination accuracy in predicting SCD, and very favourable calibration characteristics. Patients with SCD had significantly higher 8-year BCR- (72.7% vs 31.7%, P < 0.001) and CSM-free survival rates (100% vs 86.9%, P < 0.001) than patients with non-SCD.

CONCLUSIONS

We developed a novel nomogram predicting SCD at RARP. Patients with SCD achieved favourable long-term BCR- and CSM-free survival rates after RARP. The nomogram may be used to support clinical decision-making, and aid in selection of patients with high-risk prostate cancer most likely to benefit from RARP.

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