Masterclass explores new FT techniques and technologies

30 November 2019 Erika de Groot

New focal therapy (FT) techniques, rationale for FT, treatment modalities such as hemiablation to ultrafocal, tools, and development of new energies were the core of the ESU-ESUT-ESUI Masterclass on Focal Therapy for Localised Prostate Cancer’s programme.

Organised by the European School of Urology (ESU), the EAU Section of Uro-Technology (ESUT), and the EAU Section of Urological Imaging (ESUI), the masterclass welcomed 37 delegates from around the globe from 28 to 29 November 2019 in Paris. The masterclass was led by its esteemed Course Director Dr. Eric Barret.

In this article, internationally-known faculty members Prof. Caroline Moore and ESUI Chair Prof. Georg Salomon, together with promising delegates Dr. Arben Belba and Dr. Marc Hofmann, share their masterclass experience and impressions.

“It was great to see so many people engaged in the masterclass, sharing their own experiences from across the world, and discussing the challenges that we face in clinical practice. The masterclass was well run and the delegates were very engaged during the lectures and discussions,” said Prof. Moore.

Prof. Moore shared her expert insights on the use of high intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) and photodynamic therapy as treatment modalities for FT. In her lectures, she also spoke about treatment planning: How to assess men for FT for prostate cancer (PCa); how to choose the right FT for each man; and what treatment plan to create based on MRI, histology and the patient’s priorities.

“I commend the excellent organisation of the masterclass,” said Prof. Salomon, who shared his expertise and developments on biomarkers and TULSA (Transurethral Ultrasound Ablation). “The masterclass was packed with key opinion leaders and delegates who were eager to explore the potential of FT. The FT methods were presented in a promising yet critical way as FT is still in its infancy.”

He added, “I was pleased that industry partners were present during the hands-on training. Events such as this masterclass are the best way to promote promising techniques and emerging technologies.”

Masterclass highlights
“My top masterclass highlights were the high-quality lectures and productive discussions between experts and delegates. Lectures presented by radiologists, pathologists and radiotherapists were very stimulating, too. And the clinical cases help better understand the rationale for focal therapy, as well as, help establish the best treatment per patient with fewer adverse effects involved compared to radical therapies,” stated Dr. Belba.

He added, “The hands-on training was also a must-do activity which was divided into two sessions. The first session focused on diagnosis such as ultrasound and fusion biopsy, transrectal or transperineal; the second gave us opportunities to familiarise ourselves with the tools and the software interface for each focal therapy.”

To Dr. Hofmann, his masterclass highlights included highly-informative presentations such as those by Prof. Moore, the hands-on training, meeting other delegates from all over the world and discussing with them how they apply FT in local practice.

Reasons for joining
According to Dr. Belba, radical therapy and active surveillance in low-volume disease are mainly considered for PCa management at present. In the last decade, literature has increased with regard to the role of focal therapy as a valid option for localised PCa management due to multiparametric MRI. The literature on the combination with fusion biopsy leading to accurate diagnosis and tumour localisation has also expanded.

Dr. Belba shared, “I decided to apply for the masterclass to improve my knowledge on each different FT option. I was interested in improving my skills in performing the fusion biopsy of the prostate. The multidisciplinary panel of international experts and the hands-on training sessions were my other reasons for joining the masterclass. I must say, the masterclass completely satisfied my expectations.”

Dr. Hofmann aimed to know about the latest FT developments straight from the experts. “I signed up for this masterclass because I wanted to know how they apply the FT techniques. I also wanted to learn about the current FT options and technologies as research and application of FT is progressing.”

Plans and hope for future editions
“I was truly pleased and appreciative of how the discussions turned out. The masterclass was highly interactive and productive; the delegates posed questions and brainstormed together with the faculty. A successful masterclass couldn’t be more ideal than this,” said Prof. Salomon. “Perhaps in future editions, the hands-on training will be scheduled on both days.”

Prof. Moore aspires to see the attendance continue to increase, and to have all FT groups across the world represented on the faculty. In future masterclass editions, she thinks case debates among multidisciplinary faculty members on primary, redo and salvage treatments would further enrich the masterclass experience. An interactive workshop on HIFU treatment planning would be a great addition to this EAU masterclass.”

The next edition of the ESU-ESUT-ESUI Masterclass on Focal Therapy will take place in 2021. Stay tuned!

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