The 11th World Congress on Urological Research (EAU Section of Urological Research and Society for Basic Urologic Research) held in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, from 10 to 12 September 2015 provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about achievements in research in urological oncology and other disciplines.
The World Congress on Urological Research was the initiative of Jack Schalken (ESUR) and Tim Ratliff (SBUR) and the first congress was held in Rotterdam (NL) in 1995. Since then, the world congress is organised every two years, alternately in Europe and the USA. Although most researchers in the audience are focused on urological oncology, lectures in andrology and tissue engineering were well-received in this year´s programme.
Many lecturers have emphasized that there is insufficient use of biomarkers in clinical practice, although continuous efforts to improve diagnosis and prediction of disease course on the basis of biomarker identification are evident. Several possibilities to stratify prostate cancers on the basis of determination of circulating tumour cells were discussed by Klaus Pantel, Hamburg (DE).
Geert van Leenders, Rotterdam (NL) focused on efforts to better characterize Gleason grade 4 in prostate cancer. Interestingly, at least four different growth patterns: ill-defined, fused, cribriform, and glomeruloid were described. Identification of elements of epithelial to mesenchymal transition in these individual tumour types may be continued in the future.
Biomarkers in prostate cancer, from concept to clinical practice, were the main topic of the Dominique Chopin lecture by Jack Schalken, Nijmegen (NL) who was honoured for his contribution to prostate and bladder cancer research and successful leadership of European Union projects (see picture). Prof. Schalken nicely illustrated progress from the discovery of PCA3 to its recognition as an urinary biomarker.
Additional efforts of researchers from numerous laboratories are necessary to improve the process of clinical decision making. A lecture by Dan Theodorescu, Aurora (US) was received with great interest. Prof. Theodorescu showed the development of RBC8, a small molecule inhibitor of the GTPase Ral, that has favourable phramacokinetics in addition to the strong inhibitory effect on cancer xenografts.
On the second day of the meeting, Cristina Grange, Turin (IT) and Aled Clayton, Cardiff (GB) reviewed progress achieved in exosome research. Stem-cell derived exosome may cause epigenetic changes thus influencing the phenotype of tumour cells. The lectures of Jorma Toppari, Turku (FI) and Stefan Schlatt, Münster (DE) provided interesting overviews on environmental determinants of male infertility and the role of spermatogonial stem cells in therapy approaches.
The quality of selected oral and poster abstracts was very high. The winner of the ARTP award was Maria Luna Velez, Nijmegen (NL), with the abstract entitled Mechanisms of nuclear import of the Androgen Receptor splice variants and their contribution to progression of castration-resistant prostate cancer. The generous support by the ARTP of oncological urology research at ESUR meetings is very much appreciated.
The atmosphere for discussions and scientific exchange was very constructive. The participants and the ESUR-SBUR committee congratulated colleagues from the Department of Urology of the Radboud University Medical Center on its 50 years anniversary of academic urology. At the close of the meeting, the ESUR welcomed Kerstin Junker, Homburg (DE) to the start of her term as Chair.