ESUP meeting examines role of emerging biomarkers

16 November 2017

Emerging biomarkers in genitourinary (GU) tumors was the focus of the EMUC Symposium on Genitourinary Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics (ESUP) held today in Barcelona as a pre-event to the 9th European Multidisciplinary Meeting on Urological Cancers (EMUC17) which will open tomorrow.

ESUP was chaired by Prof. Alberto Briganti (IT), Prof. Rodolfo Montironi (IT), Prof. Hein Van Poppel (BE) and Prof. Antonio Lopez-Beltran (PT) who, at the end of the symposium, gave the symposium’s overarching take-home message:  “The technology is already there. We just need to implement it in the future.”

“There have been many advances in the field of urologic pathology, oncology, and imaging,” said Prof. Rodolfo Montironi (IT) in his lecture “Biomarker, molecular and technological advances in genitourinary pathology”. He stated that the multidisciplinary approach to patient care and research ultimately leads to the best outcomes from the diagnostic, theraputic, and prognostic standpoints.

Montironi emphasised the significance of information fusion, also referred to as multi-criteria decision-making in non-medical fields. “It is the integration of morphological, quantitative and molecular data with information derived from surgery and imaging techniques,” he said.

According to Prof. Yves Allory (FR), circulating tumor cells (CTC) count in metastatic prostate cancer patients is the most advanced circulating blood biomarker for urological malignancies even though clinical utility needs to be demonstrated. In his lecture “Circulating tumor cells and biomarkers in genitourinary tumors”, he stated that for other candidate biomarkers, preanalytical and/or analytical validation should be completed, and that more evidence supporting clinical validation and clinical utility are required.

“The availability of efficient therapy for a subset of patients is mandatory to demonstrate clinical utility for a biomarker. We should keep complementary and integrative approaches combining tumor tissues and body fluid examinations,” said Allory.

In his lecture “MiRNA in genitourinary tumors”, Prof. Lopez-Beltran said that MicroRNAs, also known as MiRNA, regulate the expression of their target genes and generally act as oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. He said: “These genes play an important role in the development, tumor stratification and progression of GU cancers. Urinary and serum levels of miRNAs are clinically useful for GU-cancer diagnostics and hold a promising future. There is still  much work to be done.”

“Metastatic bladder cancer patients may finally have viable therapeutic option in Immune Checkpoint modulators,” said Prof. Georges Netto (US). In his lecture “PDL1 testing and immunotherapy for genitourinary organs”, he explained that mechanistic based predictive Biomarkers of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors are emerging. He added that IHC (immunohistochemistry) assessment of PD1-PDL1 axis needs further evaluation.