EAU Vienna 2011 300x225 The changing face of advanced prostate cancer

Whew, this has been one very busy European Association of Urology (EAU) meeting here in Vienna this weekend! By that, I mean the medical sessions, as I’ve been too busy attending multiple presentations and symposia to sightsee.

Yesterday, Drs Johann De Bono and Bertrand Tombal did an excellent job in the plenary session discussing issues and emerging new treatments around high risk prostate cancer.

Dr De Bono provided an update on the anti-androgen inhibitor abiraterone after treatment with docetaxel.  This novel agent was filed in December in the US, EU and Canada and fast track approval is expected soon in the US, perhaps in time for the sister meeting, the American Urology Association (AUA), which takes place in Washington DC in May.  Interestingly, he was the first person at this meeting to talk about patients and how they deserve better treatments than we have now.

Dr Tombal took a broader perspective, discussing how the focus in Europe is gradually turning to multidisciplinary teams of surgeons, urologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists to coordinate the care of prostate cancer patients.  He was particularly vehement about the silo mentality that has evolved:

“Claiming that abiraterone is a drug for urologists because it is orally available and cabazitaxel is a drug for medical oncologists because it is chemotherapy is wrong.  This will send us back in time, into the dark age of cancer treatment.  The only wise choice is in a multidisciplinary setting.”

I agree with this concept in general, but the reality is that turf wars are rife in urology and it will take time for a multidisciplinary approach to evolve and catch up with other cancers.  This also means that ultimately, a more rigorous approach is needed, both in the science and biology of the diseases and in rigourous randomised clinical trials to evaluate the benefits of new surgical techniques, therapies and technologies.

Change is happening, but it will likely be an evolution rather than a revolution.

Yesterday was a busy day for prostate cancer in general with sanofi aventis also announcing that cabazitaxel (Jevtana) is now approved in Europe for castrate resistant prostate cancer after treatment with Taxotere.

The EAU conference organisers have done a very nice job gathering the recordings of the sessions for anyone interested in following remotely.  I heartily encourage any of you interested in castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) to check out Dr De Bono and Tombal’s talks, which you can access here – just select Day 3 and scroll down about 3/4 of the way and click on the play button to see the slides and hear the accompanying audio.

I’m planning on catching up on several other scientific and translational sessions that clashed with ones I attended myself, but to see the talks up the next morning is excellent.

Nice job from @uroweb!  You can follow the tweets from the meeting via Twitter using the hashtag #EAU11 or read them in the aggregator here.