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1.  Effects of oral meal feeding on whole body protein breakdown and protein synthesis in cachectic pancreatic cancer patients 
Pancreatic cancer is often accompanied by cachexia, a syndrome of severe weight loss and muscle wasting. A suboptimal response to nutritional support may further aggravate cachexia, yet the influence of nutrition on protein kinetics in cachectic patients is poorly understood.
Eight cachectic pancreatic cancer patients and seven control patients received a primed continuous intravenous infusion of l-[ring-2H5]phenylalanine and l-[3,3-2H2]tyrosine for 8 h and ingested sips of water with l-[1-13C]phenylalanine every 30 min. After 4 h, oral feeding was started. Whole body protein breakdown, protein synthesis, and net protein balance were calculated. Results are given as median with interquartile range.
Baseline protein breakdown and protein synthesis were higher in cachectic patients compared with the controls (breakdown: 67.1 (48.1–79.6) vs. 45.8 (42.6–46.3) µmol/kg lean body mass/h, P = 0.049; and synthesis: 63.0 (44.3–75.6) vs. 41.8 (37.6–42.5) µmol/kg lean body mass/h, P = 0.021). During feeding, protein breakdown decreased significantly to 45.5 (26.9–51.1) µmol/kg lean body mass/h (P = 0.012) in the cachexia group and to 33.7 (17.4–37.1) µmol/kg lean body mass/h (P = 0.018) in the control group. Protein synthesis was not affected by feeding in cachectic patients: 58.4 (46.5–76.1) µmol/kg lean body mass/h, but was stimulated in controls: 47.9 (41.8–56.7) µmol/kg lean body mass/h (P = 0.018). Both groups showed a comparable positive net protein balance during feeding: cachexia: 19.7 (13.1–23.7) and control: 16.3 (13.6–25.4) µmol/kg lean body mass/h (P = 0.908).
Cachectic pancreatic cancer patients have a higher basal protein turnover. Both cachectic patients and controls show a comparable protein anabolism during feeding, albeit through a different pattern of protein kinetics. In cachectic patients, this is primarily related to reduced protein breakdown, whereas in controls, both protein breakdown and protein synthesis alterations are involved.
PMCID: PMC4575552  PMID: 26401467
Cancer cachexia; Pancreatic cancer; Nutrition; Protein synthesis; Protein breakdown; Anabolic resistance
2.  Sarcopenia, obesity and sarcopenic obesity: effects on liver function and volume in patients scheduled for major liver resection 
Sarcopenia, obesity and sarcopenic obesity have been linked to impaired outcome after liver surgery. Preoperative liver function of sarcopenic, obese and sarcopenic-obese patients might be reduced, possibly leading to more post-operative morbidity. The aim of this study was to explore whether liver function and volume were influenced by body composition in patients undergoing liver resection.
In 2011 and 2012, all consecutive patients undergoing the methacetin breath liver function test were included. Liver volumetry and muscle mass analysis were performed using preoperative CT scans and Osirix® software. Muscle mass and body-fat% were calculated. Predefined cut-off values for sarcopenia and the top two body-fat% quintiles were used to identify sarcopenia and obesity, respectively. Histologic assessment of the resected liver gave insight in background liver disease.
A total number of 80 patients were included. Liver function and volume were comparable in sarcopenic(-obese) and non-sarcopenic(-obese) patients. Obese patients showed significantly reduced liver function [295 (95–508) vs. 358 (96–684) µg/kg/h, P = 0.018] and a trend towards larger liver size [1694 (1116–2685) vs. 1533 (869–2852) mL, P = 0.079] compared with non-obese patients. Weight (r = −0.40), body surface area (r = −0.32), estimated body-fat% (r = −0.43) and body mass index (r = −0.47) showed a weak but significant negative (all P < 0.05) correlation with liver function. Moreover, body-fat% was identified as an independent factor negatively affecting the liver function.
Sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity did not seem to influence liver size and function negatively. However, obese patients had larger, although less functional, livers, indicating dissociation of liver function and volume in these patients.
PMCID: PMC4458081  PMID: 26136191
Sarcopenia; Obesity; L3 skeletal muscle index; Body fat percentage; Liver function; LiMAx; Volumetry
3.  Preoperative endoscopic versus percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage in potentially resectable perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (DRAINAGE trial): design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Gastroenterology  2015;15:20.
Liver surgery in perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (PHC) is associated with high postoperative morbidity because the tumor typically causes biliary obstruction. Preoperative biliary drainage is used to create a safer environment prior to liver surgery, but biliary drainage may be harmful when severe drainage-related complications deteriorate the patients’ condition or increase the risk of postoperative morbidity. Biliary drainage can cause cholangitis/cholecystitis, pancreatitis, hemorrhage, portal vein thrombosis, bowel wall perforation, or dehydration. Two methods of preoperative biliary drainage are mostly applied: endoscopic biliary drainage, which is currently used in most regional centers before referring patients for surgical treatment, and percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage. Both methods are associated with severe drainage-related complications, but two small retrospective series found a lower incidence in the number of preoperative complications after percutaneous drainage compared to endoscopic drainage (18-25% versus 38-60%, respectively). The present study randomizes patients with potentially resectable PHC and biliary obstruction between preoperative endoscopic or percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage.
The study is a multi-center trial with an “all-comers” design, randomizing patients between endoscopic or percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage. All patients selected to potentially undergo a major liver resection for presumed PHC are eligible for inclusion in the study provided that the biliary system in the future liver remnant is obstructed (even if they underwent previous inadequate endoscopic drainage). Primary outcome measure is the total number of severe preoperative complications between randomization and exploratory laparotomy. The study is designed to detect superiority of percutaneous drainage: a provisional sample size of 106 patients is required to detect a relative decrease of 50% in the number of severe preoperative complications (alpha = 0.95; beta = 0.8). Interim analysis after inclusion of 53 patients (50%) will provide the definitive sample size. Secondary outcome measures encompass the success of biliary drainage, quality of life, and postoperative morbidity and mortality.
The DRAINAGE trial is designed to identify a difference in the number of severe drainage-related complications after endoscopic and percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage in patients selected to undergo a major liver resection for perihilar cholangiocarcinoma.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register [NTR4243, 11 October 2013].
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12876-015-0251-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4332425  PMID: 25887103
Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma; Resection; Preoperative biliary drainage; Complications
4.  Early surgery versus optimal current step-up practice for chronic pancreatitis (ESCAPE): design and rationale of a randomized trial 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:49.
In current practice, patients with chronic pancreatitis undergo surgical intervention in a late stage of the disease, when conservative treatment and endoscopic interventions have failed. Recent evidence suggests that surgical intervention early on in the disease benefits patients in terms of better pain control and preservation of pancreatic function. Therefore, we designed a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the benefits, risks and costs of early surgical intervention compared to the current stepwise practice for chronic pancreatitis.
The ESCAPE trial is a randomized controlled, parallel, superiority multicenter trial. Patients with chronic pancreatitis, a dilated pancreatic duct (≥ 5 mm) and moderate pain and/or frequent flare-ups will be registered and followed monthly as potential candidates for the trial. When a registered patient meets the randomization criteria (i.e. need for opioid analgesics) the patient will be randomized to either early surgical intervention (group A) or optimal current step-up practice (group B). An expert panel of chronic pancreatitis specialists will oversee the assessment of eligibility and ensure that allocation to either treatment arm is possible. Patients in group A will undergo pancreaticojejunostomy or a Frey-procedure in case of an enlarged pancreatic head (≥ 4 cm). Patients in group B will undergo a step-up practice of optimal medical treatment, if needed followed by endoscopic interventions, and if needed followed by surgery, according to predefined criteria. Primary outcome is pain assessed with the Izbicki pain score during a follow-up of 18 months. Secondary outcomes include complications, mortality, total direct and indirect costs, quality of life, pancreatic insufficiency, alternative pain scales, length of hospital admission, number of interventions and pancreatitis flare-ups. For the sample size calculation we defined a minimal clinically relevant difference in the primary endpoint as a difference of at least 15 points on the Izbicki pain score during follow-up. To detect this difference a total of 88 patients will be randomized (alpha 0.05, power 90%, drop-out 10%).
The ESCAPE trial will investigate whether early surgery in chronic pancreatitis is beneficial in terms of pain relief, pancreatic function and quality of life, compared with current step-up practice.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3610165  PMID: 23506415
Chronic pancreatitis; Pain; Surgical management; Surgery; Endoscopic treatment; Endoscopy; ERCP; Opioid; Pancreaticojejunostomy; Frey procedure
5.  Polyethylene glycol versus dual sugar assay for gastrointestinal permeability analysis: is it time to choose? 
Increased intestinal permeability is an important measure of disease activity and prognosis. Currently, many permeability tests are available and no consensus has been reached as to which test is most suitable. The aim of this study was to compare urinary probe excretion and accuracy of a polyethylene glycol (PEG) assay and dual sugar assay in a double-blinded crossover study to evaluate probe excretion and the accuracy of both tests.
Gastrointestinal permeability was measured in nine volunteers using PEG 400, PEG 1500, and PEG 3350 or lactulose-rhamnose. On 4 separate days, permeability was analyzed after oral intake of placebo or indomethacin, a drug known to increase intestinal permeability. Plasma intestinal fatty acid binding protein and calprotectin levels were determined to verify compromised intestinal integrity after indomethacin consumption. Urinary samples were collected at baseline, hourly up to 5 hours after probe intake, and between 5 and 24 hours. Urinary excretion of PEG and sugars was determined using high-pressure liquid chromatography-evaporative light scattering detection and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, respectively.
Intake of indomethacin increased plasma intestinal fatty acid-binding protein and calprotectin levels, reflecting loss of intestinal integrity and inflammation. In this state of indomethacin-induced gastrointestinal compromise, urinary excretion of the three PEG probes and lactulose increased compared with placebo. Urinary PEG 400 excretion, the PEG 3350/PEG 400 ratio, and the lactulose/rhamnose ratio could accurately detect indomethacin-induced increases in gastrointestinal permeability, especially within 2 hours of probe intake.
Hourly urinary excretion and diagnostic accuracy of PEG and sugar probes show high concordance for detection of indomethacin-induced increases in gastrointestinal permeability. This comparative study improves our knowledge of permeability analysis in man by providing a clear overview of both tests and demonstrates equivalent performance in the current setting.
PMCID: PMC3414379  PMID: 22888267
gastrointestinal permeability; polyethylene glycol; dual sugar
6.  Open versus laparoscopic left lateral hepatic sectionectomy within an enhanced recovery ERAS® programme (ORANGE II – Trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:54.
The use of lLaparoscopic liver resection in terms of time to functional recovery, length of hospital stay (LOS), long-term abdominal wall hernias, costs and quality of life (QOL) has never been studied in a randomised controlled trial. Therefore, this is the subject of the international multicentre randomised controlled ORANGE II trial.
Patients eligible for left lateral sectionectomy (LLS) of the liver will be recruited and randomised at the outpatient clinic. All randomised patients will undergo surgery in the setting of an ERAS programme. The experimental design produces two randomised arms (open and laparoscopic LLS) and a prospective registry. The prospective registry will be based on patients that cannot be randomised because of the explicit treatment preference of the patient or surgeon, or because of ineligibility (not meeting the in- and exclusion criteria) for randomisation in this trial. Therefore, all non-randomised patients undergoing LLS will be approached to participate in the prospective registry, thereby allowing acquisition of an uninterrupted prospective series of patients. The primary endpoint of the ORANGE II trial is time to functional recovery. Secondary endpoints are postoperative LOS, percentage readmission, (liver-specific) morbidity, QOL, body image and cosmetic result, hospital and societal costs over 1 year, and long-term incidence of incisional hernias. It will be assumed that in patients undergoing laparoscopic LLS, length of hospital stay can be reduced by two days. A sample size of 55 patients in each randomisation arm has been calculated to detect a 2-day reduction in LOS (90% power and α = 0.05 (two-tailed)).
The ORANGE II trial is a multicenter randomised controlled trial that will provide evidence on the merits of laparoscopic surgery in patients undergoing LLS within an enhanced recovery ERAS programme.
Trial registration NCT00874224.
PMCID: PMC3409025  PMID: 22559239
Laparoscopy; Open liver resection; Hepatectomy; ERAS; Left lateral sectionectomy; RCT
7.  Dietary cholesterol, female gender and n-3 fatty acid deficiency are more important factors in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than the saturation index of the fat 
The central feature of NAFLD is a disturbed fatty-acid metabolism with hepatic lipid accumulation. However, the factors that determine the severity of NAFLD, including the role of nutrition, gender, and plasma lipid levels, remain to be determined.
High-fat diets (42 en% fat), containing 0.2% cholesterol, were fed to male and female wild-type and hyperlipidemic APOE2ki C57BL/6J mice for three weeks. The fats were, in order of decreasing saturation, fractionated palm fat (fPF; ~95%), cocoa butter (CB; ~60%), olive oil (OO; ~15%), sunflower oil (SO; ~12%), and high-oleic-acid sunflower oil (hoSO; ~7%). Plasma and liver triglycerides (concentration and composition), liver inflammation (Ccl2, Cd68, Tnf-α mRNA), and infiltration of macrophages (Cd68, Cd11b immunohistochemistry) and neutrophils (Mpo) were quantified.
Addition of cholesterol to a low-fat diet decreased plasma HDL and increased (V)LDL levels in APOE2ki mice. Plasma cholesterol levels in female, but not male APOE2ki mice correlated significantly with inflammation. Kupffer cells of inflamed livers were swollen. Wild-type mice refused the highly saturated fPF diet. The high-fat CB, OO, and SO diets induced hyperglycemia and a 2-fold increase in hepatic fat content in male, but not female wild-type mice (in females, hepatic fat content was similar to that in males fed a high-fat diet). All high-fat diets induced macrovesicular setatosis. APOE2ki mice were protected against high-fat diet-induced steatosis and hyperglycemia, except when fed a hoSO diet. This diet caused a 5-fold increase in liver triglyceride and mead-acid content, and an increased expression of lipogenic genes, suggesting a deficiency in poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Irrespective of the composition of the high-fat diet, oleic acid was the main triglyceride component of liver fat in wild-type and APOE2ki mouse livers. Liver inflammation was dependent on genotype (APOE2ki > wild type), gender (female > male), and cholesterol content (high > low) of the diet, but not on dietary fat composition.
Dietary cholesterol plays a determining, independent role in inflammation, especially in female mice. The fatty-acid saturation of the diet hardly affected hepatic steatosis or inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3045875  PMID: 21261989
8.  Liver Manipulation Causes Hepatocyte Injury and Precedes Systemic Inflammation in Patients Undergoing Liver Resection 
World Journal of Surgery  2007;31(10):2033-2038.
Liver failure following liver surgery is caused by an insufficient functioning remnant cell mass. This can be due to insufficient liver volume and can be aggravated by additional cell death during or after surgery. The aim of this study was to elucidate the causes of hepatocellular injury in patients undergoing liver resection.
Markers of hepatocyte injury (AST, GSTα, and L-FABP) and inflammation (IL-6) were measured in plasma of patients undergoing liver resection with and without intermittent inflow occlusion. To study the separate involvement of the intestines and the liver in systemic L-FABP release, arteriovenous concentration differences for L-FABP were measured.
During liver manipulation, liver injury markers increased significantly. Arterial plasma levels and transhepatic and transintestinal concentration gradients of L-FABP indicated that this increase was exclusively due to hepatic and not due to intestinal release. Intermittent hepatic inflow occlusion, anesthesia, and liver transection did not further enhance arterial L-FABP and GSTα levels. Hepatocyte injury was followed by an inflammatory response.
This study shows that liver manipulation is a leading cause of hepatocyte injury during liver surgery. A potential causal relation between liver manipulation and systemic inflammation remains to be established; but since the inflammatory response is apparently initiated early during major abdominal surgery, interventions aimed at reducing postoperative inflammation and related complications should be started early during surgery or beforehand.
PMCID: PMC2039834  PMID: 17668263
9.  Perioperative strategy in colonic surgery; LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care (LAFA trial) 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:16.
Recent developments in large bowel surgery are the introduction of laparoscopic surgery and the implementation of multimodal fast track recovery programs. Both focus on a faster recovery and shorter hospital stay.
The randomized controlled multicenter LAFA-trial (LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care) was conceived to determine whether laparoscopic surgery, fast track perioperative care or a combination of both is to be preferred over open surgery with standard care in patients having segmental colectomy for malignant disease.
The LAFA-trial is a double blinded, multicenter trial with a 2 × 2 balanced factorial design. Patients eligible for segmental colectomy for malignant colorectal disease i.e. right and left colectomy and anterior resection will be randomized to either open or laparoscopic colectomy, and to either standard care or the fast track program. This factorial design produces four treatment groups; open colectomy with standard care (a), open colectomy with fast track program (b), laparoscopic colectomy with standard care (c), and laparoscopic surgery with fast track program (d). Primary outcome parameter is postoperative hospital length of stay including readmission within 30 days. Secondary outcome parameters are quality of life two and four weeks after surgery, overall hospital costs, morbidity, patient satisfaction and readmission rate.
Based on a mean postoperative hospital stay of 9 +/- 2.5 days a group size of 400 patients (100 each arm) can reliably detect a minimum difference of 1 day between the four arms (alfa = 0.95, beta = 0.8). With 100 patients in each arm a difference of 10% in subscales of the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire and social functioning can be detected.
The LAFA-trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence on the merits of fast track perioperative care and laparoscopic colorectal surgery in patients having segmental colectomy for malignant disease.
PMCID: PMC1693570  PMID: 17134506
10.  Minimally invasive 'step-up approach' versus maximal necrosectomy in patients with acute necrotising pancreatitis (PANTER trial): design and rationale of a randomised controlled multicenter trial [ISRCTN38327949] 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:6.
The initial treatment of acute necrotizing pancreatitis is conservative. Intervention is indicated in patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis. In the Netherlands, the standard intervention is necrosectomy by laparotomy followed by continuous postoperative lavage (CPL). In recent years several minimally invasive strategies have been introduced. So far, these strategies have never been compared in a randomised controlled trial. The PANTER study (PAncreatitis, Necrosectomy versus sTEp up appRoach) was conceived to yield the evidence needed for a considered policy decision.
88 patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis will be randomly allocated to either group A) minimally invasive 'step-up approach' starting with drainage followed, if necessary, by videoscopic assisted retroperitoneal debridement (VARD) or group B) maximal necrosectomy by laparotomy. Both procedures are followed by CPL. Patients will be recruited from 20 hospitals, including all Dutch university medical centres, over a 3-year period. The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients suffering from postoperative major morbidity and mortality. Secondary endpoints are complications, new onset sepsis, length of hospital and intensive care stay, quality of life and total (direct and indirect) costs. To demonstrate that the 'step-up approach' can reduce the major morbidity and mortality rate from 45 to 16%, with 80% power at 5% alpha, a total sample size of 88 patients was calculated.
The PANTER-study is a randomised controlled trial that will provide evidence on the merits of a minimally invasive 'step-up approach' in patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC1508161  PMID: 16606471

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