3rd EMUC: urinary cytology unsurpassed in BCa treatment

Dr. J. Bellmunt at the 3rd EMUC in Barcelona

Friday, 11 November 2011- New developments in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer were discussed in the recently concluded 3rd European Multidisciplinary Meeting on Urological Cancers (EMUC) held last November 4 to 6 in Barcelona, Spain.

Prof. Joaquim Bellmunt (Spain) presented a detailed overview of developments in BCa biomarkers research and clinical application, and gave special attention to the clinical use of biomarkers in the diagnostic setting.  He also presented his view as to why biomarkers have not yet lived up to expectations.

Among other things, Belmunt said that-- with the exception of NMP-22- most of the biomarkers are not sufficiently researched and that follow-up cystoscopy remains the most reliable option.

Commenting on this lecture, Prof. Marko Babjuk (Czech Republic), who chaired the session, suggested that “perhaps the future lies with cellular-based biomarkers, and this is where research needs extra attention already today.”

The management of NMIBC was another topic under extensive discussion. Presented by Prof. Theo De Reijke (Netherlands), the lecture covered some of the most debatable issues related to the treatment of patients with this disease.

"I cannot stress enough the importance of good TURB, and the vital role of the surgeon in the management of NMIBC," he said. "Record and review your own procedures and make it your intention to minimise re-TURB by getting it right from the very first time.”

"We must remember that intravesical therapy does not compensate for incomplete resection," he emphasised.

Furthering the insights from De Reijke’s lecture, Babjuk added that it is time to review the TURB procedure in the management of NMIBC: “It has remained unchanged for years. We have only been able to improve on the equipment,” Babjuk said.

In the closing part of the session, Dr. Maria De Santis (Austria) provided an update on systemic treatment of BCa, reviewing the "good old" treatment and current phase III trials in the field. She stated that today, cisplatin combination therapy is standard and is coupled with carboplatin/gemcitabine option for the unfit group of patients.

De Santis also looked into the best targets for targeted therapy and briefly explored novel and prospective developments: “The pipeline for BCa research is promising, and we are now looking into two target families. HER family is interesting, but is a very tricky target to research.”

She also noted that the onco-urological community is in need for accelerated studies of experimental therapeutics, which is connected to a fuller portrait of the heterogeneous molecular pathophysiology of BCa.

By Evgenia Starkova

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