Range of Treatment Expertise Showcased at 2022 Society of Urologic Oncology’s Annual Meeting

Faculty from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Desai Sethi Urology Institute showcased not only recent research but also their experience and expertise in the treatment of kidney and prostate cancer at the 23rd annual meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO), held November 30 to December 2 in San Diego.

Chad R. Ritch, M.D., M.B.A., FACS at an SOU conference panel presentation.
Chad R. Ritch, M.D., M.B.A., FACS, third from left, at an SOU conference panel presentation. Dr. Ritch served on the conference’s kidney cancer planning committee.

“This year at SUO, we participated in two important moderated plenary sessions that discussed cutting-edge concepts in kidney cancer and prostate cancer,” said Sylvester researcher Chad R. Ritch, M.D., M.B.A., FACS, associate professor of urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of urology at UHealth Tower.

Dr. Ritch, who also was on the SUO’s kidney cancer session planning committee, shared expert advice on his management approach to patients with hereditary kidney cancer, specifically describing surgical techniques for robotic partial and radical nephrectomy used mainly at high-volume referral centers such as Sylvester.

Sanoj Punnen, M.D., co-chair of the Genitourinary Site Disease Group at Sylvester and associate professor and vice chair of research, Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the Miller School, participated in a panel discussion of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET in prostate cancer evaluation and management.

“This is a new imaging tracer that allows much more accurate detection of prostate cancer metastases. It’s a new technology that has resulted in significant changes in the management of this disease,” Dr. Punnen said. “We were invited to the panel because we are early adopters and thought leaders of innovative and disruptive technology.”

Research Presentations

Desai Sethi fellow Helen Yang Hougen, M.D., presented two of Sylvester’s research projects on the 4Kscore, which is a blood-based biomarker commonly used for evaluating prostate cancer risk to help decide on the need for a prostate biopsy. The test was FDA approved for diagnosis but has been predominantly tested in white men, according to Dr. Punnen, an author of the 4Kscore research presented.

“In one project, Dr. Hougen presented work from a Sylvester clinical trial showing the test is also helpful for predicting future progression in men who decide to monitor their cancer in a process called active surveillance, or watchful waiting,” Dr. Punnen said.

The other project was a collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center that focused on the performance of the test in African American men and proposed an adjustment factor that allows the test to better predict the risk of significant prostate cancer in African American men.

“This biomarker is one of the most commonly used for prostate cancer detection, and this work will result in a change to the test to provide better risk prediction in African American men,” Dr. Punnen said.

Both studies are being prepared for publication in scientific journals, according to Dr. Punnen.

Nehizena Aihie, M.D., a urology resident at the Desai Sethi Urology Institute, presented “Predictors of response to pelvic floor physical therapy in post-radical prostatectomy stress urinary incontinence,” research which study author Mark L. Gonzalgo, M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair of urology at the Miller School, said is important because it shines a light on factors that are important to recovery of urinary control in men undergoing radical prostatectomy and how best to help them.

“Our study showed that pelvic floor physical therapy can play an important role in helping men recover their urinary control after surgery,” Dr. Gonzalgo said.

The SUO sessions at which Sylvester researchers presented had large groups of attendees from cancer centers and academic institutions nationwide, according to Dr. Ritch.

“It was important to showcase the broad range of treatment expertise that we have in urologic oncology at Sylvester,” he said.

Tags: Department of Urology, Desai Sethi Urology Institute, Dr. Chad Ritch, Dr. Sanoj Punnen, Society of Urologic Oncology, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center