Washington, DC (UroToday.com) While direct patient care, ranging from consultation to counseling and surgical intervention, is foremost for the vast majority of urologists and urologic oncologists, we may arguably benefit more patients and have a greater influence through clinical research by advancing the state of knowledge used to inform the care of patients well beyond our direct clinical research. Previous work from the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO) has identified the lack of structured education in clinical research and clinical trial design and involvement as a weakness for many physicians graduating from SUO accredited fellowships. To this end, the SUO convened a Symposium on Clinical Research and Clinical Trials in conjunction with their annual meeting. 

Dr. Seth Lerner began his presentation on the Cooperative Groups and participating in group trials highlighting his experience within the Society of Urologic Oncology Clinical Trials Consortium (SUO-CTC), the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), and the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP).

He first highlighted the SUO-CTC. This group was founded in 2008 with the goal of bringing better therapies to patients and the marketplace through collaboration with industry.



The SUO-CTC brings value, in Dr. Lerner’s estimation, by providing access to active, influential, and accomplished investigators in urologic oncology who are national thought leaders with clinical research expertise. Along with demonstrating best practice methodology, the SUO-CTC also provides national access to key patient populations. The scope of the SUO-CTC includes the conduct of trials assessing the safety and efficacy of therapy, diagnostics, and devices in prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer. He then highlighted the relatively quick turnarounds that the CTC can provide.



Dr. Lerner then moved on to discuss the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). This government-funded body undertakes trials that industry is either unable or unwilling to perform and thus offers significant support to many surgical trials. This network has further served to facilitate a collaboration rather than competitive interaction between existing cooperative groups. Using the SWOG genitourinary subcommittee as an example, he highlighted the process from trial conception to trial approval including concept development and presentation, competitive peer review to identify and expedite trials that are most impactful and likely to succeed, and finally to finalization and execution.

In addition to the main clinical questions of these trials, the cooperative group structure allows the embedding of a number of translational medicine studies due to embedded specimen collection. This allows the curation of a valuable biospecimen repository, one that becomes publicly available following trial reporting. He then provided a few examples including SWOG S1602 and SWOG/NRG S1806 to highlight the ability of young investigators to get involved with leading cooperative group trials and the importance of collaboration between cooperative groups, respectively.

Presented by: Seth Lerner, MD, FACS, Professor of Urology, Beth and Dave Swalm Chair in Urologic Oncology, Director of Urologic Oncology, Director of the Multidisciplinary Bladder Cancer Program, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Written by: Christopher J.D. Wallis, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Twitter: @WallisCJD at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO), December 4 - 6, 2019, Washington, DC