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The 20th Annual Meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology took place in Washington, D.C. from December 4-6. Here are a few highlights from the program.

  • Dr. Suzanne Merrill’s presentation interrogated how long and intensely patients need to be followed up after kidney cancer treatment. Merrill, a urologic oncologist at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, noted current guidelines from the American Urological Association and National Comprehensive Cancer Network fail to account for changes in patients’ recurrence risk over time, the influence of competing risks from co-morbid conditions, and the fact that renal cell carcinoma recurrences can occur beyond five years. Better follow-up rubrics are beneficial from both a patient’s and a physician’s perspective since they potentially require fewer tests or scans. For example, it may make more sense to follow someone younger after treatment compared to someone who is ill and in their 80s.
  • In his discussion of the various types of biomarkers in renal cell carcinoma, Dr. Joshua Lang, an oncologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, described the potential for applying microfluidic technology to separate out and study circulating tumor cells. This technique uses very small flows of liquid and tiny droplets of water to separate things that exist in blood. Not only might it cut down on CT scans to identify resistance, for example, but this type of liquid biopsy could be better at capturing how complex tumors are and help answer questions about resistance and treatment efficacy. “I think that technology is really promising as far as in the future being able to track [patients] during treatment, being able to measure response, not just radiographically but looking at individual components of the tumor cells that we can isolate from peripheral blood,” said session moderator Dr. Jason Abel, a urologic oncologist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

See the full program here.

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