Participants from leading European laboratories met at the ESUR Annual Meeting in Glasgow Grand Central Hotel from 9th to 11th October. Hot topics in several urological oncology areas have been presented by experienced researchers and talented young fellows. Focused lectures on stem cells and epithelial to mesenchymal transition were presented.
Gabri van der Pluijm (Leiden), Rakesh Heer (Newcastle), Paula Chiaruggi (Florence) and Giuseppina Carbone (Bellinzona) presented nice overviews on novel regulators of tumor stemness and progression. These regulators are miRNA and transcription factors. It is obvious that multiple miRNAs, either tumor promoting or tumor suppressive, regulate phenotypic changes of prostate cancer which are characterized by increased expression of mesenchymal markers.
Since it is clear that there are limitations of antiandrogen therapy, novel targets related to cellular stemness have been identified. Therefore, small molecules that target prostate cancer stemness are being developed. Hopefully, preclinical and clinical trials based on stem cell targeting may be a focus of future meetings of ESUR.
Research on aggressive prostate cancer by I. Ahmad (Beatson Institute of Cancer Research) in Pten mutant mice was awarded with the ARTP prize. Epithelial to mesenchymal transition has been addressed in several posters related to chemoresistance in carcinoma of the prostate. Some specific miRNA relevant to prostate cancer metastasis to bone has also been identified, such as miR-373.
This meeting was very useful in terms of building of new collaborations between leading European researchers, including preparations for the new European Union projects. Feedback from the participants was very positive and enthusiastic. Professor Hing Leung and the Board created a wonderful meeting environment and it is hope that the ESUR meeting will continue to grow in the next years.