We speak to our member Federico Ghignone, Colorectal and General Surgeon at Ospedale per gli Infermi in Faenza, about his new appointment as Assistant Editor of the European Journal of Surgical Oncology.

Q. How do you feel about your new role as assistant editor?

FG: I definitely feel excited! I have always had a strong interest in clinical research, and I believe that joining the EJSO Editorial Team as an Assistant Editor will be nothing less than crucial for my career development.

Q. What are you most looking forward to about it?

FG: I must confess that I have limited experience in the editorial world. Therefore, this experience will give me the chance to collaborate with a highly respected, top level editorial team and to implement my knowledge in surgical research. I’m looking forward to learning as much as possible and to further expanding the EJSO social media footprint: I believe this is what my position entails.

Q. Will being a member of ESCP help with your role as assistant editor at EJSO and what are the benefits of being a member of ESCP?

FG: ESCP is one of the most important colorectal surgical societies worldwide, represented by many respected and talented surgeons. I decided to join ESCP exactly with this in mind: to be part of a strong community always on the edge of surgical research and innovation. For this reason, I believe that being an ESCP member will represent a great benefit. I do hope that this editorial role will be the occasion to promote high quality publications in the field of surgical oncology.

Q. Is there anything in particular that you’d like to focus on in your work for EJSO?

FG: As Assistant Editor at EJSO I will take care of the Journal Twitter account and the visual abstracts editing. I joined Twitter back in 2013 (@FedeGhigno) because I saw its value in keeping surgeons and scientists updated about latest articles and research projects via social media. Dr Helen Mohan (@HelenMohan1), past EJSO Assistant Editor, did a terrific job in starting and implementing the EJSO Twitter profile. I would like to focus my work on further improving the Journal visual abstract strategies and explore other SoMe areas like Tweet Chat or video/podcast. I believe that social media and new communication strategies represent a unique opportunity for the Journal to capture surgeons’ interests worldwide in order to further disseminate original contributions.

Q. What sort of content can we look forward to next year in EJSO?

FG: The incoming year will be opened by EJSO with two great special issues: the first one will be focused on rectal cancer treatment in senior adults and the second one on surgical treatment of peritoneal malignancies. These two conditions are emblematic because they require multimodal and multidisciplinary approach to obtain a successful treatment. I believe that EJSO will keep on promoting articles that are not exclusively centred on surgical aspects but that include modern multimodal strategies (such as prehabilitation or integration with other medical specialties). I believe also that frailty assessment, PROMs and geriatric surgical oncology will continue to have the editorial space they deserve.

A key publication in 2020 will be the Theoretical and Practical Knowledge Curriculum for Oncoplastic Breast Surgery; this will enhance and harmonise breast surgery training and practice while improving standards from the current very variable levels. Patients will be reassured about the provenance and skills of their breast surgeon by using the searchable directory of certified breast surgeons.

Q. Finally, what do you consider were the top three papers of 2019?*

FG: I know you’ve asked my top three… but I have a top four! In no particular order, they are:

Brouwer NPM, Heil TC, Olde Rikkert MGM, Lemmens VEPP, Rutten HJT, de Wilt JHW, van Erning FN. The gap in postoperative outcome between older and younger patients with stage I-III colorectal cancer has been bridged; results from the Netherlands cancer registry. Eur J Cancer. 2019 Jul;116:1-9.
This article by Brouwer and Colleagues demonstrates concretely that quality and safety improvements in colorectal cancer care (obtained by a systematic auditing process), with more standardised procedures, can decrease mortality rates among senior adults affected by colorectal cancer, who are nowadays the vast majority of our surgical patients.

Trépanier M, Minnella EM, Paradis T, Awasthi R, Kaneva P, Schwartzman K, Carli F, Fried GM, Feldman LS, Lee L. Improved Disease-free Survival After Prehabilitation for Colorectal Cancer Surgery. Ann Surg. 2019 Sep;270(3):493-501.
In 2018-2019 some papers confirmed a positive impact of prehab in reducing post-operative complications, but this article by Trepanier shows something incredibly fascinating and revolutionary to me: stage III colorectal patients who received prehabilation had a significantly improved long-term disease-free survival compared to those who did not (73.4% vs 50.9%).

Roodbeen SX, de Lacy FB, van Dieren S, Penna M, Ris F, Moran B, Tekkis P, Bemelman WA, Hompes R; International TaTME Registry Collaborative. Predictive Factors and Risk Model for Positive Circumferential Resection Margin Rate after Transanal Total Mesorectal Excision in 2653 Patients with Rectal Cancer. Ann Surg. 2019 Nov;270(5):884-891.
This article shows that positive CRM rate in a large number of patients treated by TaTME was 4.0%, which can be considered as an indirect marker of good surgical oncological performance. Furthermore, it developed model able to identify high risk patients (tumors located up to 1 cm from the anorectal junction, anterior tumors, cT4 tumors, extra-mural venous invasion and threatened or involved CRM on baseline MRI) suggesting that they may benefit from different treatment modalities (prolonged neoadjuvant therapy, additional boost of radiotherapy or even extended surgical resection).

Shahrokni A, Alexander K. What will perioperative geriatric assessment for older cancer patients look like in 2025? Advantages and limitations of new technologies in geriatric assessment. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2019 Jul 24. pii: S0748-7983(19)30584-0.
I consider this article one of the most important published in 2019 since it gives a new vision, incorporating digital health technologies into the daily clinical practice. These technologies (wearables, sensors, smartphone apps, e-PRO…), provide unique opportunities for surgical teams to have an easier, more robust and reliable assessment of older cancer patients, making decision making process more accurate and tailored.

*NOTE: Some articles will require a subscription or may need to be bought to be viewed in full.

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