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Have the days of ADT Monotherapy for Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer Come to an End? STAMPEDE in the June #urojc

The much awaited results of the STAMPEDE study of abiraterone for hormone naive prostate cancer was simultataneously presented at #ASCO17 and published ‘on line ahead of print’ in the NEJM. The formal title of the study was “Abiraterone for Prostate Cancer Not Previously Treated with Hormone Therapy”.

Briefly, the study randomised 1917 men with locally advanced or metastatic hormone naive prostate cancer  to receive either ADT alone or ADT in combination with abiraterone and prednisolone.  significantly higher rates of overall and failure-free survival than ADT alone.We were privileged to have the lead author Professor Nick James join us for the June #urojc.  He posted the following video which is a lovely summary about STAMPEDE.  All of us could benefit from watching this and it is a useful link for our patients.

The data from the study is clear and it was not surprising that the majority of the discussion surrounding this paper was not going to be a dissection of the methodology or dataset and its analysis but rather how these results might impact upon urological practice.

There was a somewhat provocative start to the discussion with:-

To turn the question around, we saw the following tweet:-

But @urogeek came out swinging

But he was not alone in these thoughts.

But lets be fair, these responses are from urologists immersed in clinical trials experience and highly academic centers.  The following tweet perhaps brought out what many were thinking.

But perhaps the onus is upon us to make that extra effort to learn. As has been mentioned, we manage one of the most toxic agents competently in the form of intravesical BCG for bladder cancer.

Naturally, there was bound to be some discussion about cost of treatment.

For a bit of light hearted banter, there was the following exchange which we hope nobody took too seriously.

The twitter account of the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases posted a poll which was responded to by 117 participants with only 10% choosing the ADT alone option.  Whilst far from scientific, does this represent a significant change in thinking?  It was not long ago where we could have predicted that almost all respondents would have chosen the ADT alone option.

And to finish up, a question answered by Nick James as follows:-

A big thanks to all who participated in the June #urojc discussion. A special thanks to lead author Nick James for his insightful comments that really added to the discussion.  We will be back for another installment of the #urojc in July.  See you then.

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

 

Changing the LATITUDE of Treatment for High-Risk Hormone-Naïve Prostate Cancer: STAMPEDE-ing Towards Androgen Biosynthesis Inhibition

zach-klaassenEarlier this month at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, IL, Dr. Karim Fizazi and Dr. Nicholas James (@Prof_Nick_James) presented results from the LATITUDE and STAMPEDE trials, respectively. These randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessed the utility of adding abiraterone acetate (AA) + prednisone to conventional androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) among men with high-risk, hormone-naïve prostate cancer. Since Dr. Charles Huggins’ 1941 Nobel prize winning finding that ADT is highly effective in controlling metastatic prostate cancer, nearly 70 years passed before CHAARTED and STAMPEDE demonstrated in 2015 that the addition of docetaxel to ADT prolongs survival in men with high volume metastatic prostate cancer. The de novo metastatic prostate cancer global incidence is striking: 3% in the US and rising, 6% across Europe, 4-10% in Latin America, and nearly 60% in Asia-Pacific. Historically, ADT has been standard of care, however most men with metastases progress to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) driven by the reactivation of androgen receptor (AR) signaling. The rationale for adding AA + prednisone to ADT for metastatic hormone-naïve prostate cancer patients is threefold: (i) the mechanism of resistance to ADT may develop early, (ii) ADT alone does not inhibit androgen synthesis by the adrenal glands or prostate cancer cells, and (iii) AA + prednisone improves overall survival (OS) in mCRPC patients and reduces tumor burden in high-risk, localized prostate cancer.

LATITUDE

LATITUDE was conducted at 235 sites in 34 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Canada. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the addition of AA + prednisone to ADT on clinical benefit in men with newly diagnosed, high-risk, metastatic hormone-naïve prostate cancer. Patients were stratified by the presence of visceral disease (yes/no) and ECOG performance status (0, 1 vs 2) and then randomized 1:1 to either ADT + AA (1000 mg daily) + prednisone (5 mg) (n=597) or ADT + placebo (n=602). The co-primary endpoints were OS and radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS). Secondary endpoints included time to: (i) pain progression, (ii) PSA progression, (iii) next symptomatic skeletal event, (iv) chemotherapy, and (v) subsequent prostate cancer therapy. The study was powered to detect an HR of 0.67 and 0.81 in favor of AA for rPFS and OS, respectively.
Over a median follow-up of 30.4 months, patients treated with ADT + AA + prednisone had a 38% risk reduction of death (HR 0.62, 95%CI 0.51-0.76) compared to ADT + placebo.

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Median OS was not yet reached in the ADT + AA + prednisone arm compared to 34.7 months in the ADT + placebo arm. OS rates at 3 years for the ADT + AA + prednisone arm was 66%, compared to 49% in the ADT + placebo arm. This OS benefit was consistently favorable across all subgroups including ECOG 0 and 1-2, visceral metastases, Gleason ≥8 disease, and bone lesions >10.

There was also 53% risk of reduction of radiographic progression or death for patients treated with ADT + AA + prednisone (median 33.0 months; HR 0.47, 95%CI 0.39-0.55) compared to ADT + placebo (14.8 months).

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Secondary endpoints showed statistically significant improvement for ADT + AA + prednisone, including time to PSA progression (HR 0.30, 95%CI 0.26-0.35), time to pain progression (HR 0.70, 95%CI 0.58-0.83), time to next symptomatic skeletal event (HR 0.70, 95%CI 0.54-0.92), time to chemotherapy (HR 0.44, 95%CI 0.35-0.56), and time to subsequent prostate cancer therapy (HR 0.42, 95%CI 0.35-0.50).

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Secondary to the results presented at ASCO, the study was discontinued after the first interim analysis. Adverse events were comparable in the two groups. Hypertension only rarely required treatment discontinuation, and only two patients discontinued treatment due to hypokalemia (no hypokalemia-related deaths). Two patients in each arm died of cerebrovascular events, and 10 patients treated with ADT + AA + prednisone compared to 6 patients treated with ADT + placebo died of cardiac disorders.

STAMPEDE

STAMPEDE is a large multi-stage, multi-arm, RCT being conducted in the United Kingdom to assess the utility of novel therapeutic agents in conjunction with ADT. Currently being tested are AA, enzalutamide, zoledronic acid, docetaxol, celecoxib and radiotherapy (RT). The AA arm of the study was presented at ASCO as a late-breaking abstract. Inclusion criteria included men with locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer, including newly diagnosed with N1 or M1 disease, or any two of the following: stage T3/4, PSA ≥ 40 ng/mL, or Gleason score 8-10. Patients undergoing prior radical prostatectomy or RT were eligible if they had more than one of the following: PSA ≥ 4 ng/mL and PSADT < 6 months, PSA ≥ 20 ng/mL, N1, or M1 disease. Patients were then randomized 1:1 to standard of care (SOC; ADT for ≥2 years, n=957) vs SOC + AA (1000 mg) + prednisone 5 mg daily (n=960). Treatment with RT was mandated in patients with N0M0 disease, while strongly encouraged for N1M0 patients. Primary outcomes were OS and failure-free survival (FFS), where failure was defined as PSA failure, local failure, lymph node failure, distant metastases or prostate cancer death. Secondary outcome included toxicity and skeletal-related events (SREs). The study was powered to detect a 25% improvement in OS for the treatment group (requiring 267 control arm mortalities).
Both groups were balanced and patients were predominantly metastatic (52% M1, 20% N+M0, 28% N0M0), median was PSA 53 ng/mL, and 99% were treated with LHRH analogues. Over a median follow-up of 40 months, there were 262 control arm deaths, of which 82% were prostate cancer-related; there were 184 deaths in the SOC + AA + prednisone arm. There was a 37% relative improvement in overall survival (HR 0.63, 95%CI 0.52-0.76) favoring SOC + AA + prednisone.

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A Forrest plot split on stratification factors demonstrated no evidence of heterogeneity based on any of the factors, including M0/M1 status (p=0.37). Second, SOC+AA + prednisone demonstrated a 71% improvement in FFS (HR 0.29, 95%CI 0.25-0.34), with an early split in the KM curves.

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SOC + AA + prednisone also significantly decreased SREs among the entire cohort (HR 0.46, 95%CI 0.37-0.58), as well as specifically in the M1 cohort (HR 0.45, 95%CI 0.37-0.58). This resulted in a 55% reduction in SREs in the M1 subset analysis.

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When looking at treatment progression, 89% of the SOC arm went on to next line of therapy, whereas 79% of the SOC + AA + prednisone arm received additional therapy, most commonly docetaxel. As expected, the rate of Grade 3-5 adverse events was higher in the SOC + AA prednisone arm (47% vs. 33%), and were primarily cardiovascular (HTN, MI, cardiac dysrhythmias) or hepatic (transaminitis) in nature.

REACTION, INTERPRETATION & FUTURE DIRECTIONS

As has become the norm during academic conferences, there was significant buzz on Twitter over the course of the two days these results were presented:

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This also included the New England Journal of Medicine immediately tweeting after the presentations that LATITUDE and STAMPEDE were published instantaneously:

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Furthermore, immediately following Dr. Fizazi’s presentation of LATITUDE, Dr. Eric Small from @UCSF presented a discussion of LATITUDE. A number of important points were raised. First, although this was a well-designed, placebo controlled, randomized phase III study, early unblinding (although appropriate) resulting in an HR of 0.62 for OS is based on only 50% of the targeted total deaths. Making conclusions based on interim analyses must be made with caution. However, with every endpoint reaching statistical significance and conditional probability modeling, if the study had remained blinded, the probability of reaching the same conclusions is high. Second, since twice as many patients in the ADT + placebo arm received life-prolonging therapy than compared to the ADT + AA + placebo arm, the benefit of AA is not explained by more secondary life-prolonging therapy, strengthening the cause for AA + ADT.

Perhaps the most interesting and pertinent clinical comparison is assessing outcomes of the LATITUDE and CHAARTED (high-volume disease) treatment arms (AA vs docetaxel). With similar median OS outcomes between the ADT control arms of the two trials (suggesting similar populations), the HRs for OS based on treatment are nearly identical:

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Similarly, the rPFS outcomes were comparable between the two trials:

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With nearly identical OS and rPFS outcomes for men receiving ADT + AA or ADT + docetaxel, the question becomes whether the impact of adding AA to ADT is volume or risk dependent. Results from the STAMPEDE trial would suggest remarkably similar outcomes support the use of AA + ADT in patients with less burden of disease. Arguably the most important slide of the meeting was captured and tweeting by Dr. Agarwal (@neerajaiims):

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Dr. Small eloquently summarized future directions into two groups. Unanswered questions regarding efficacy include: (i) Can a genomic classifier be used to select patients more likely to benefit from AA or docetaxel? (ii) Can AA be added in even earlier settings (with radiation? Increasing PSAs?) (iii) Should AA and docetaxel be combined or used sequentially? Additionally, there are also unanswered questions regarding AA resistance, including (i) Will the mechanisms of resistance to AA be the same when used in the non-mCRPC setting? (ii) Will androgen receptor amplification still be observed? (iii) Will there be an increased risk of treatment-associated small cell/neuroendocrine prostate cancer? (iv) Does adding chemotherapy or AA to ADT result in more aggressive disease at the time of resistance? (v) What is the optimal therapy for a patient who progresses on ADT + AA, compared to a patient who progresses on ADT + docetaxel? Given the avoidance of potential chemotherapy related side effects (ie. neutropenic complications) for an oral, long-term treatment, AA + ADT should be considered standard of care for untreated, high-risk metastatic prostate cancer.

But what is the long-term economic landscape like when practice changing trials such as LATITUE and STAMPEDE suddenly thrust an expensive medication such as AA + prednisone directly to the forefront of hormone-naïve disease? Following these presentations, urologic oncologist, Twitter veteran, and Forbes correspondent Dr. Ben Davies (@daviesbj) wrote a provocative piece highlighting the potential ‘financial toxicity’ (particularly in the United States) that may result downstream of these trials:

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A conservative estimate is a wholesale cost of $115,000 per year per patient for AA + prednisone, resulting in a crude estimate of a $2.8 billion annual expenditure for the drug in the United States alone if used in the hormone-naïve setting, according to Dr. Davies. As Dr. Davies also points outs, although the patent for AA expired in 2016 and there are currently 13 applications to make generic AA, the patent for prednisone lasts until 2027, with $30 billion riding on the lawsuit. Dr. David Penson (@urogeek) succinctly summarized via Twitter:

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Strictly academically speaking, LATITUDE and STAMPEDE, in addition to the docetaxel benefits of CHAARTED, have provided clinicians with exciting Level 1 evidence for improving patient care in the high-risk/metastatic setting. The investigators and more importantly the thousands of patients and families are to be thanked and congratulated for their perseverance, hard-work, and willingness to participate in these practice-changing clinical trials. It is our job as clinicians to continue advocating the best treatment for our patients, whether this be through economic barriers in the United States, or access to appropriate care on a global scale.

 

Zach Klaassen, MD

Urologic Oncology Fellow

University of Toronto/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

@zklaassen_md

 

The Surgical Safety Check List – May #urojc

Ever since the World Health Organisation launched the Safe Surgery Saves Lives campaign in 2007, surgical safety has been drawn to the forefront of the daily surgical routine. The introduction of the 19-point Surgical Safety Checklist, aimed at reducing preventable complications, has become key, with shouts of ‘time-out’ or ‘checklist’ becoming the norm at the start of each case. Equally whether known as the ‘huddle’ or ‘team brief’, the meeting of all team members at the beginning of the list not only helps plan for any changes from the normal routine, but gives a good chance to get to know any new members of staff and helps to promote the team-based atmosphere that encompasses a productive operating list. In the 2009 study evaluating the benefits of the Surgical Safety Checklist, a reduction in both the mortality rate and rate of inpatient complications were found to be significantly reduced1. Implementation of these safety protocols however requires effort and engagement from all members of the theatre team.

In the May, the International Urology Journal Club (@iurojc) #urojc debated a study by Haynes et al in which the reduction of 30-day mortality following the implementation of a voluntary, checklist-based surgical quality improvement program2. The study identified that hospitals completing the program had a significantly lower rate of 30-day mortality following inpatient surgery.

One of the first topics brought up in the debate is the variability in the implementation of safety checklists.

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@StorkBrian raised the possibility that due to the addition of more items at the surgical time out, effectiveness decreases. Whether there is a lack of ability to concentrate on too much paper work was discussed

Conflicting evidence regarding the effect surgical checklists have on mortality was identified, with @WallisCJD bringing up the paper by Urbach et al as an example3.

The different outcomes from the two studies may however be attributed to the difference in follow up period and study design.

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Another aspect of study design discussed was the inclusion criteria – which excluded day case procedures. Whether the outcome in 30-day mortality would be different if these are included, as they are more likely to be lower-risk surgery, is unclear.

Equally whether 30-day mortality is the most appropriate endpoint for the study was questioned – although clearly very important, it would be interesting to know if other factors, such as significant morbidity, altered following the quality improvement program.

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Although the surgical checklist has become part of our daily life, the question as to why they are important was raised by @CanesDavid, with a variety of responses.

For many, it seemed that alongside the safety promotion, it helps to promote cohesive teamwork and communication, which may give all team members the confidence to voice any concerns.

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Giving all team members the ability to speak up with confidence if they identify any concerns will only benefit patients and staff.

Equally, the culture of safety promoted in teams who engage with the surgical checklist process may not be limited to the checklist itself, but to the surgical environment in general

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One clear concern some have with the mandating of the surgical checklist is ensuring it does not just become a ‘tick-box’ exercise

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Regardless of whether you find the checklist another form to fill, or a key part of your operating list, the goal of the process is clear: to protect our patients from preventable mistakes.

This study, confirming the original findings from the 2009 study that surgical safety checklists improve operative mortality, adds to the argument that this must become an inherent part of our practice. Key in this study however was the entire program promoting engagement in the concept of surgical safety, and supporting the team as a unit in this. The debate around this paper has highlighted that although the process of completing the mandatory checklists is important, perhaps the more important aspect is creating a culture of safety, openness and honest communication in which all team members can work together to promote safe surgery.

 

Sophia Cashman is a urology trainee working in the East of England region, UK. Her main areas of interest are female and functional urology. @soph_cash

 

References

1. Haynes AB, Weiser TG, Berry WR, et al. A Surgical Safety Checklist to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality in a Global Population. New England Journal of Medicine 2009;360(5):491-9
2. Haynes AB, Edmondson LBA, Lipsitz SR, et al. Mortality Trends After a Voluntary Checklist-based Surgical Safety Collaborative. Annals of Surgery 2017. Published Ahead-of-Print
3. Urbach DR, Govindarajan A, Saskin R, et al. Introduction of Surgical Safety Checklists in Ontario, Canada. New England Journal of Medicine 2014;370(11):1029-1038

 

The 5th BJUI Social Media Awards

It’s hard to believe that we have been doing the BJUI Social Media Awards for five years now! I recall vividly our inaugural BJUI Social Media Awards in 2013, as the burgeoning social media community in urology gathered in the back of an Irish Bar in San Diego to celebrate all things social. At that time, many of us had only got to know each other through Twitter, and it was certainly fun going around the room putting faces with twitter handles for the first time. That spirit continues today as the “uro-twitterati” continues to grow, and the BJUI Awards, (or the “Cult” Awards as our Editor-in-Chief likes to call them), remains a fun annual focus for the social-active urology community to meet up in person.

As you may know, we alternate the Awards between the annual congresses of the American Urological Association (AUA) and of the European Association of Urology (EAU). Last year, we descended on Munich, Germany to join the 13,000 or so other delegates attending the EAU Annual Meeting and to enjoy all the wonderful Bavarian hospitality on offer. This year, we set sail for the #AUA17 Annual Congress in Boston, MA, along with over 16,000 delegates from 100 different countries. What a great few days in beautiful Boston and a most welcome return for the AUA to this historic city. Hopefully it will have a regular spot on the calendar, especially with the welcome dumping of Anaheim and Orlando as venues for the Annual Meeting.

Awards

On therefore to the Awards. These took place on Saturday 13th May 2017 in the City Bar of the Westin Waterfront Boston. Over 80 of the most prominent uro-twitterati from all over the world turned up to enjoy the hospitality of the BJUI and to hear who would be recognised in the 2017 BJUI Social Media Awards. We actually had to shut the doors when we reached capacity so apologies to those who couldn’t get in! Individuals and organisations were recognised across 12 categories including the top gong, The BJUI Social Media Award 2017, awarded to an individual, organization, innovation or initiative who has made an outstanding contribution to social media in urology in the preceding year. The 2013 Award was won by the outstanding Urology Match portal, followed in 2014 by Dr Stacy Loeb for her outstanding individual contributions, and in 2015 by the #UroJC twitter-based journal club. Last year’s award went to the #ilooklikeaurologist social media campaign which we continue to promote.

This year our Awards Committee consisted of members of the BJUI Editorial Board – Declan Murphy, Prokar Dasgupta, Matt Bultitude, Stacy Loeb, John Davis, as well as BJUI Managing Editor Scott Millar whose team in London (Max and Clare) drive the content across our social platforms. The Committee reviewed a huge range of materials and activity before reaching their final conclusions.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Most Read [email protected] – “The optimal treatment of patients with localized prostate cancer: the debate rages on”. Dr Chris Wallis, Toronto, Canada

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Most Commented [email protected] – “It’s not about the machine, stupid”. Dr Declan Murphy, Melbourne, Australia

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Most Social Paper – “Novel use of Twitter to disseminate and evaluate adherence to clinical guidelines by the European Association of Urology”. Accepted by Stacy Loeb on behalf of herself and her colleagues.

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Best BJUI Tube Video – “Combined mpMRI Fusion and Systematic Biopsies Predict the Final Tumour Grading after Radical Prostatectomy”. Dr Angela Borkowetz, Dresden, Germany

AUA

Best Urology Conference for Social Media – #USANZ17 – The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Urological Association of Australia & New Zealand (USANZ) 2017. Accepted by Dr Peter Heathcote, Brisbane, Australia. President of USANZ.

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Best Urology App – The EAU Guidelines App. Accepted by Dr Maria Ribal, Barcelona, Spain, on behalf of the EAU.

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Innovation Award – BJUI Urology Ontology Hashtags keywords. Accepted by Dr Matthew Bultitude, London, UK, on behalf of the BJUI.

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#UroJC Award – Dr Brian Stork, Michigan, USA. Accepted by Dr Henry Woo of Brian’s behalf.

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Most Social Trainee – Dr Chris Wallis, Toronto, Canada

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Best Urology Journal for Social Media –Journal of Urology/Urology Practice. Accepted by Dr Angie Smith, Chapel Hill, USA, on behalf of the AUA Publications Committee.

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Best Urology Organisation – Canadian Urological Association. Accepted by Dr Mike Leveridge, Vice-President of Communications for CUA.

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The BJUI Social Media Award 2017 – The Urology Green List, accepted by Dr Henry Woo, Sydney, Australia.

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All the Award winners (except Dr Brian Stork who had to get home to work), were present to collect their awards themselves. A wonderful spread of socially-active urology folk from all over the world, pictured here with BJUI Editor-in-Chief, Prokar Dasgupta.

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A special thanks to our outstanding BJUI team at BJUI in London, Scott Millar, Max Cobb and Clare Dunne, who manage our social media and website activity as well as the day-to-day running of our busy journal.

See you all in Copenhagen for #EUA18 where we will present the 6th BJUI Social Media Awards ceremony!

 

Declan Murphy

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Associate Editor, BJUI

@declangmurphy

EAU 2017 Congress Days 3&4

London calling! On Sunday morning London called one hour earlier than I had planned – damn daylight saving time! Last nights’ celebrations with urology friends from around the world at the ESRU (European Society of Residents in Urology) dinner party made me pay. Yet this was going to be a great meeting day.

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Sunday morning sessions served as a wake-up call after a short night due to daylight saving time.

Dr. Rajesh Nair has already reported on a great kick-off and continuation of the EAU17 congress in his blog on congress days 1 & 2.

The Sunday programme started with a plenary session in eURO auditorium on redefining and optimising contemporary bladder cancer care. The EAU chose a great concept for the plenary session by presenting an easily digestible mix of different lectures: Experts in the field used case discussions to illustrate real-life clinical scenarios and everyday issues for urologist. Speakers delivered their best arguments in the debates on pros and cons on urgent clinical questions. Finally, State-of-the-art lectures summarized the most important aspects in the field.

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EAU17 Delegates joining the congress action.

Sunday’s State-of-the art lectures on bladder cancer were held by James Catto and Walter Artibani. Catto reported on “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) for bladder cancer: Non-surgical options to improve outcomes of cystectomy”. Catto systematically covered 22 ERAS items on preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative measures. Appliance of ERAS for radical cystectomy yielded better outcomes for length-of-stay as well as readmission and transfusion rates when compared to traditional recovery concepts.

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State-of-the-art lecture: Three principles of the Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) Philosophy.

The second State-of-the-art lecture by Walter Artibani gave perspectives on “What determines Quality-of-Life after urinary diversion and how do we measure it?” Artibani pointed out that we have to do a better job in defining and researching health-related quality of life in order to compare outcomes of urinary diversions. Multidisciplinarity is a must and there is room and need for enhanced long-term personalized information and support programs.

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Quality of Life after urinary diversion – Walter Artibani’s twist of Albert Einstein’s wisdom.

Besides scientific meetings, the Annual Meeting of course is the place for board meetings of the EAU bodies. The EAU Section Office Members took the opportunity to step out of the congress and enjoy London’s incredibly good weather.

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EAU Section Office Members enjoying London’s sun for a group photo.

At high noon it was time for me to join the Advanced Course on Social Media – take it to the next level! An expert panel of Social media users in urology gave insights on the wide variety of Social media use in our field. Twitter queen Stacy Loeb (@LoebStacy) gave examples on the use of social media for scientific research and for dissemination of content. Matthew Cooperberg (@dr_coops) showed in his talk “reputation management” why and how urologists should take care of their digital self. Finally, Inge van Oort (@onco_uroloog) presented do’s and don’ts of Twitter use emphasizing the importance of Social Media guidelines.

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Great conclusion of the advanced Social Media Course by @LoebStacy.

Yet, ESU Courses weren’t limited to lectures and discussions. HOT – Hands on Training was offered to delegates with 1-on-1-supervision. I was amazed by the variety of simulators and technical equipment for course participants. But why would they use red irrigation fluid? – Making the TURP simulation a more realistic experience? 😉

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Simulation and tutoring during European School of Urology Hands-on-training courses.

On Monday morning the EAU launched a new initiative: the Young Urologist Office provided a new course format: the EAU Leadership Course. Ambitious urologists from all over the world gathered to expand on their leadership skills: What are my leadership styles? Can I flex my style? Am I effective? These were only some of the aspects covered by a team of specialized leadership coaches.

 

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One key skill for leadership: great rhetorical skills!

Another thing I liked about the EAU congress was the professional media coverage – EAU TV offered short interviews covering highlights from abstract sessions, plenary sessions and insights from the EAU bodies. It was EAU TV that attracted my attention to Amanda Chung’s study “Is your career hurting you? – The ergonomic consequences of surgery in 701 urologists worldwide”.  Against common presumption, Chung et al. didn’t find a dose-response relationship between volume of surgeries performed and back pain. A protective effect against back pain was found for exercise, instead increasing weight and BMI were associated with higher pain – thanks for these insights! I definitely aim for a lifestyle change after hearing these findings!

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EAU TV enriches the conference experience.

There were a lot of things to learn during the congress. During the congress first-ever e-Poster Abstract Session on New technologies: Urology and multimedia, I learned from session chair and BJUI’s editor-in-chief Prokar Dasgupta that the highest cited paper on Altmetrics in 2015 was on a new antibiotic that kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Maybe this is why the EAU heavily announced it’s thematic session on infections in urology: “Killer bacteria and viruses in urology”. One must-read I got from this session was an update on the management of sepsis and septic shock.

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Highlights from the EAU Infectious diseases session “Killer bacteria and viruses in urology”.

As usual the EAU congress featured lots of live and semi-live surgeries. For some of them the Copenhagen Room wasn’t quite enough to accommodate all delegates interested.

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Live and semi live surgery as usual attracting lots of EAU delegates.

The EAU congress truly offered a cocktail of everything: the latest science presented in plenary & poster sessions, education, updates on guideline knowledge and of course lots of networking in form of meeting, greeting and tweeting.

Finally, my EAU17 journey ended on Monday night after lots of congress input, short nights and a great time meeting urology friends from around the world. Thanks a lot to all organisers and contributors for your hard work and great performance! See you in Copenhagen!

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Hendrik Borgmann, Urologist, University Hospital Mainz

@HendrikBorgmann

 

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.

The

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.

 

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

 

Key Hashtags: Incorporating Ontology tags into articles

The urology tag ontology project defines a list of hashtags to standardise descriptors for use in social media. This was an agreed list by crowd sourcing the urological social media community. The project itself is discussed in more detail in Alexander Kutikov’s recent blog.

New for 2017, at the BJUI we are phasing in hashtags into our journal articles under the ‘Key Words’ – so effectively Key Hashtags if you like. The aim of this is threefold.

  • Firstly, to guide readers to relevant hashtags if they are unfamiliar with them so hoping to reinforce the standardisation of these tags.
  • Secondly, we hope that this will ensure that urologists tweeting about articles will use the correct relevant ontology hashtags so ensuring a constant thread on Social Media.
  • Lastly by incorporating hashtags into articles this should encourage wider use of social media amongst the urological community.

ontologyprojectusageThe daily use of urology ontology tags over recent weeks (source: Symplur)

An example is the article of the month for January. Whilst these may seem obvious for some readers, tags such #PCSM (Prostate Cancer Social Media) have not necessarily become widely known.

Hopefully this innovation will be useful to our readers and promote both the ontology project and correct use of hashtags amongst fellow urologists.

ontologyhashtagsList of Urology Tag Ontology hashtags (click image for larger image)

 

Matthew Bultitude is BJUI Associate Editor for the Web.

 

 

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