Interview with Team Captains of the postgraduate symposium-Master Cup in the 25th Meeting of the ESTS
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Interview with Team Captains of the postgraduate symposium-Master Cup in the 25th Meeting of the ESTS

Submitted Jul 10, 2017. Accepted for publication Sep 18, 2017.

doi: 10.21037/jtd.2017.09.88

On May 31, 2017, the 25th Meeting of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) successfully ended after a dense 4-day agenda blending a superb scientific and educational program, with more than 1,500 participants worldwide. The event took place in Innsbruck, a historical town located at the heart of the Austrian Alps, and the capital of Tyrol, Austria. With a history of 25 years’ growth, the ESTS Conference has developed into the largest international event in the field of thoracic surgery, with a solid reputation of excellent scientific and educational value.

This year, the meeting provided participants with scientific sessions composed of carefully selected abstracts, working group meetings, special lectures delivered by renowned experts, and joint sessions, which produced an excellent opportunity for young colleagues as well as experienced experts to discuss new trends in thoracic surgery and the problems in everyday work.

Same as the past, the postgraduate symposium-Master Cup has specially attracted wide attention among participants (Figure 1). However, this year there were great changes in rules of the competition, including the great increase in the amount of participating teams. Compared to last year, it increased from 3 to 16 teams on behalf of different countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA). Obviously, the changes have made the competition more challenging, rigorous, and interesting.

Figure 1 The postgraduate symposium-Master Cup.

After 3 rounds of rigorous contests, the Canadian team won the championship in the end. Congratulations! They’ve done an excellent work absolutely, as well as all the other 15 teams. Captains were all experienced, and younger trainees were playing the actively part in the game. As audience, we really enjoyed and deeply benefited a lot from the whole course. “To participate, to learn, to enjoy, and not necessary to win”, that is the core spirit of the competition, we think.

After the course, we were honored to conduct brief interviews to the following team captains (Figures 2-7), and have their comments and feelings about the competition.

Figure 2 Captain of Chinese team—Lanjun Zhang, MD, PhD (Department of thoracic Surgery, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China)
Figure 3 Captain of Italian team—Pier Luigi Filosso, MD (Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Torino, Torino, Italy).
Figure 4 Captain of Turkish team—Hasan Batirel, MD, PhD (Department of Thoracic Surgery, Marmara University Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey).
Figure 5 Captain of French team—Gilbert Massard, MD (Lung Transplantation Group, Nouvel Hôpital Civil, University Hospital Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France)
Figure 6 Captain of Canadian team—Stephen Cassivi, MD (Division of General Thoracic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA).
Figure 7 Captain of Belgian team—Dirk Van Raemdonck, MD (Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Gasthuisberg, Belgium).

Questions and answers

What do you think we can learn from the Postgraduate Course Master’s Cup Competition? ( Figure 8 )

Figure 8 What to learn from the Master Cup (1). Available online:

Chinese Team—Prof. Lanjun Zhang:Master Cup was finished. First, team Canada was the champion. Congratulation! I think the three Chinese young doctors are very clever and they did their job very well. Although the competition was a challenge for our mother language is not English, the Chinese young doctors still enjoyed the competition and performed well. What we can learn from this competition is that we have received very good education course for the competition.”

Italian Team—Prof. Pier Luigi Filosso:It’s a very fantastic opportunity for the young surgeons to meet many other colleagues from other countries. The questions in fact were concerning many different topics, from which we can learn a lot. Also, the young surgeons can review their knowledge on thoracic surgery, which will also benefit them a lot.”

Turkish Team—Prof. Hasan Batirel:I think the competition is very nice, for it is motivating for the residents and trainees, and it is very exciting for everyone. The education of content is also quite good. We like this competition and enjoy it.”

French Team—Prof. Gilbert Massard:We learned a lot from education sessions and we believed the important thing in competition is to participate in not to win. Captain is all very seasoned and the young surgeons were playing the active part in the game.”

Canadian Team—Prof. Stephen Cassivi:The competition was organized with three rounds and each round had six questions from different areas of thoracic surgery, so the design of the questions was very balanced. We learned a lot from every part of the competition. I am particularly proud of my Canadian team, the winning team. But all the team performed well and they can all be proud of how they competed during the postgraduate course.”

Belgian Team—Prof. Dirk Van Raemdonck:It’s a very good competition that increases the spirit among the trainees from different countries and the surgeons can expand their knowledge. All the participants performed well and we really enjoyed it.”

What do you think is the most interesting part, and what impressed you most during the competition this year? ( Figure 9 )

Figure 9 The most interesting and impressive part of the Master Cup (2). Available online:

Chinese Team—Prof. Lanjun Zhang:The competition itself is a joy. We took part in this competition and enjoyed the whole process. I think ESTS is a big family and all of us are the family members. Therefore, the interesting part is that people here treat us as their family members and doctors regard themselves as international doctors.”

Italian Team—Prof. Pier Luigi Filosso:Many excellent surgeons had the opportunity to go abroad and to come here, in Austria, where they can meet each other and exchange their opinions about the job. Besides, I really appreciate the game itself, including the design of the initiative as well as the idea to show some peculiarity for each country.”

Turkish Team—Prof. Hasan Batirel:It is important that the residents have to answer the questions in a very short time period, and they have to answer different questions from different areas of thoracic surgery, which reflects overall knowledge of the residents.”

Canadian Team—Prof. Stephen Cassivi:We know the participants are the trainees who are from different countries all over the world. What impressed me most was the depth of knowledge from these trainees. All the 16 country representatives did very well and we are very pleased that the surgeons in the crowd watched and enjoyed the competition.”

Belgian Team—Prof. Dirk Van Raemdonck:The preparation of the questions is very difficult. There is not very much evidence-based practice in thoracic surgery, therefore making good questions is not very easy. The content of the competition is very educational, which makes people think deeper and they learn a lot.”

What would be your suggestions for the young experts to better prepare for the next year’s competition? (Figure 10)

Figure 10 Advices for young residents (3). Available online:

Chinese Team—Prof. Lanjun Zhang:I suggest that Chinese young doctors should improve their English, for example, read more English textbook, communicate with foreign doctors and do more practices abroad. What’s more, it’s very important not to be shy but to be courageous.”

Italian Team—Prof. Pier Luigi Filosso:Studying the ESTS textbook, reading the most important International journals and work hard every day at hospital are the best suggestions to prepare the competition.”

Turkish Team—Prof. Hasan Batirel:I think the young surgeons need to experience everything and expand their knowledge in different areas of thoracic surgery.”

Canadian Team—Prof. Stephen Cassivi:It’s very useful for young surgeon to read ESTS textbooks, work hard at hospital and learn skills from each daily experience with each patient.”

Belgian Team—Prof. Dirk Van Raemdonck:As for young surgeons, it’s helpful to attend the ESTS meeting, compete with other surgeons from different countries and learn experience from them.”




Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


  1. Lian H, Zhong J. What to learn from the Master Cup. Asvide 2017;4:471. Available online:
  2. Lian H, Zhong J. The most interesting and impressive part of the Master Cup. Asvide 2017;4:472. Available online:
  3. Lian H, Zhong J. Advices for young residents. Asvide 2017;4:473. Available online:

(Science Editors: Hailing Lian, Jessie Zhong, JTD,

Cite this article as: Lian H, Zhong J. Interview with Team Captains of the postgraduate symposium-Master Cup in the 25th Meeting of the ESTS. J Thorac Dis 2017;9(10):E921-E924. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2017.09.88