Highlights by Luqman Mazlan from the latest Global Reach Webinar

ZG LMESCP’s membership extends around the world and has strong links with colorectal societies in Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, across South America, USA and, of course, across Europe. ESCP aims to build international collaboration in research and education through Global Reach. Global reach webinars, international multicentre studies and educational collaborations are only a few aspects of this endeavour. Dr. Luqman, Consultant Colorectal & General Surgeon at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), shares with ESCP audience insights from the latest webinar as well as his perspective on ESCP’s Global Reach.

In this interview, Dr Luqman speaks with Zoe Garoufalia on the highlights of the recent Global Reach webinar.

Zoe Garoufalia (ZG): Dr. Luqman thank you for agreeing to this interview. Another ESCP Global Reach webinar was held recently, about the developments in care for colorectal cancer. What was the key message of this webinar?

Luqman Mazlan (LM): The webinar was divided into two parts: the first being an update on the development and progress in research on surgery during the Covid-19 pandemic; and the second, on the latest research and clinical updates on neoadjuvant treatment for colon cancer.

Dr Soo Yeun Park from South Korea shared updates on her centre’s ongoing randomised control trial on survival outcomes in neoadjuvant chemotherapy on locally invasive resectable colon cancers. She also presented their retrospective analysis on T3 vs T4 tumours on disease free survival, tumour regression and radiological and clinical downstaging when neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given. We then had an update on the Foxtrot 3 global trial by dr Dhruva Ghosh from India. Expanding on the success of foxtrot and incorporating patients from medium to lower income countries. In conclusion, the message here is that we are beginning to understand that this strategy of giving neoadjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer in a selected group of patients is feasible, safe, and advantageous. We wait enthusiastically the long term and survival outcomes from this Korean trial and the Foxtrot trials.

ZG: How did this Global Reach webinar bring together ESCP with the colorectal surgical societies in Asia?

LM: The recent ESCP Global Reach webinar is the sixth webinar organised by the Global Reach committee and the fifth that I have the honour of being involved. It is not easy to bring societies that are geographically far apart who would otherwise not have a chance to interact or collaborate. Therefore, a well-established and respected organisation like the ESCP can play that role in bringing us together. As a representative of my country’s society, I feel that the Global Reach webinars and other such activities is a great avenue to bring colorectal surgeons together for a common purpose of research collaboration and giving updates on the latest developments on common and relevant topics in clinical practice. This would otherwise be difficult to do by a single or regional society working alone.

ZG: Why is international collaborative research needed in colorectal surgery and how can it improve the standard of colorectal surgical care?

LM: The saying ‘no man is an island’ is particularly relevant in medicine. Currently, the field of medicine is ever expanding and increasingly complex. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, it is difficult for an individual or small group to have much impact on their field of study. With collaboration, one can increase recruitment rates, increase the power of the study, and discover things that are otherwise impossible in a single centre or even country. Global Reach attempts to bring people together for this purpose. It is the hope that the findings would directly or indirectly have a bigger impact in improving colorectal surgical care across the world.

ZG: How does Global Reach contribute to international collaboration in research and education?

LM: In the past few years, we have had very regular webinars hosted by our members with distinguished invited speakers who are lead investigators or experts in their respective fields of coloproctology. The aim is to bring the latest updates in knowledge and research to our global audience. I believe that Global Reach is a well-suited platform to bring together people from all corners of the world and to know the different perspectives and progress in different countries on the same topic or theme.

In the area of research, Global Reach can help by promoting ongoing trials in our member countries. We can also help expand the reach of mainly western centric research to the far east and beyond like in the case of East of Damascus and the original Damascus study. This will help to further understand demographic, disease, and management variations around the world.

ZG: Is there or should there be a place for young surgeons in this endeavour? And how?

LM: Young surgeons everywhere are the ones we depend on to lead innovation and improve surgical skills and outcomes for the future. While the Global Reach committee itself is comprised of members from different backgrounds and ages, the activities we do - especially the collaborative research - is geared to young and enthusiastic surgeons. I think it is this group who are most keen to progress personally and professionally and see colorectal surgery progress further. Yes, perhaps soon we should have a sub-committee of young surgeons in Global Reach or expand Young ESCP to more members outside Europe.

ZG: Are there any messages that you wish to convey to our ESCP audience around the world?

LM: Yes, most certainly. Do support us by listening in and interacting during our regular webinars. If you or anyone you know would like to get involved in truly international multidisciplinary research, do click the link on our Global Reach webpage and join the exciting studies there. I assure you there will be more to come!

ZG: Thank you for your time and this interview!


Dr Luqman Mazlan is a Consultant Colorectal & General Surgeon at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was the Head of Colorectal Surgery at the National University Hospital Malaysia and has a special interest in recurrent and locally invasive colorectal cancers. He has multiple publications in peer reviewed journals and was involved in many international trials and research in colorectal surgery and clinical nutrition.

Dr Luqman has been actively involved in holding educational workshops and courses on colorectal and general surgery and clinical nutrition both in Malaysia and internationally. He is currently the President-elect of the Malaysian Society of Colorectal Surgeons, Council member of the European Society of Coloproctology Global Reach Committee and a Council Member of the Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

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