In collaboration with the EAU, the European School of Oncology (ESO) is organising a two-day meeting in Amsterdam on 21-22 February, 2014 on the topic of active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer. The meeting is endorsed by Europa Uomo, the coalition of European prostate cancer patients.
“This meeting is for clinical specialists, urologists, radiation oncologists, biologists, as well as prostate cancer patients and nurses: basically everyone involved in the treatment of prostate cancer,” says Dr. Riccardo Valdagni (Milan, IT), ESO Prostate Cancer Programme Coordinator.
“Active surveillance means postponing treatment temporarily, or for the rest of the patient’s life when the cancer is classified as ‘indolent’. The question then is whether we are sure that a specific tumour is indolent. This is something that is still uncertain, and that we need to critically examine.”
Prof. Hein Van Poppel (Leuven, BE), EAU Adjunct Secretary General and Executive board member responsible for Education considers this a very timely meeting, considering developments in the past five years: “In my department we’ve brought down number of radical prostatectomies from 250 to 125 per year in the past five years, simply because more patients are going on active surveillance.”
“We think we have a viable management option for low-risk prostate cancer (it’s not a treatment option), but is this the right way to go? We think so, but we don’t have any hard data yet. It’s a promising field of research: what place do RMI and re-biopsying have?”
Towards a standardised approach
One of the objectives of the ESO meeting is to examine and evaluate the different existing protocols for active surveillance, as recommended and practiced around the world.
Prof. Valdagni: “The prevalence of active surveillance in Europe is growing. The EAU now considers it a viable option, some American societies also consider it a gold standard. I think we need to develop a protocol, which means a degree of quality control.”
“I would say there are 5-7 different protocols for active surveillance worldwide, and we can’t say for sure which is the best. One important point of the meeting is to discuss the different protocols and find out if there is a way to standardise or harmonise an approach.”
Scientific programme Key topics to be covered in Amsterdam are overdetection and over-treatment; selection and monitoring for active surveillance; the application of emerging technology and biomarkers for screening, surveillance and treatment, and the quality of life of men on active surveillance. Valdagni on QoL: “How are people living with untreated cancer? We know that preliminary analysis and evaluation are very good. This is also good for physicians, because we try to avoid treatments, and the related side-effects. On the other hand, we want to be sure not to lose the window of opportunity to offer the patient an acceptable, less toxic treatment or surgery that is less extensive.”
ESO and the Meeting
The meeting is chaired by Prof. Chris Bangma (Rotterdam, NL), and Dr. Jonas Hugosson (Gothenburg, SE) who is representing the EAU. Prof. Laurence Klotz (Toronto, CA) is co-chairing, with an honorary chair position for Prof. Louis Denis (Antwerp, BE) on behalf of Europa Uomo. The meeting is CME-accredited and takes place in the prestigious Beurs van Berlage convention centre in the heart of the Dutch capital.The European School of Oncology was founded in Milan by Umberto Veronesi and Laudomia Del Drago in 1982, with the aim of contributing to the reduction of deaths from cancer due to late diagnosis and/or inadequate treatment.
By improving the skills of all health professionals dealing with cancer patients, ESO helps shorten the time needed to transfer knowledge from research centres to daily practice, combining advanced technology with humanism in care.
ESO’s mission is reﬂected in its motto: “Learning to Care”, which emphasises the importance of the learning process, and the goal of caring for the patient in a holistic sense, in contrast to focusing purely on treating the disease. ESO is a financially independent organisation.