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1.  Randomized controlled multicentre study comparing biological mesh closure of the pelvic floor with primary perineal wound closure after extralevator abdominoperineal resection for rectal cancer (BIOPEX-study) 
BMC Surgery  2014;14:58.
Background
Primary perineal wound closure after conventional abdominoperineal resection (cAPR) for rectal cancer has been the standard of care for many years. Since the introduction of neo-adjuvant radiotherapy and the extralevator APR (eAPR), oncological outcome has been improved, but at the cost of increased rates of perineal wound healing problems and perineal hernia. This has progressively increased the use of biological meshes, although not supported by sufficient evidence. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of pelvic floor reconstruction using a biological mesh after standardized eAPR with neo-adjuvant (chemo)radiotherapy compared to primary perineal wound closure.
Methods/Design
In this multicentre randomized controlled trial, patients with a clinical diagnosis of primary rectal cancer who are scheduled for eAPR after neo-adjuvant (chemo)radiotherapy will be considered eligible. Exclusion criteria are prior radiotherapy, sacral resection above S4/S5, allergy to pig products or polysorbate, collagen disorders, and severe systemic diseases affecting wound healing, except for diabetes. After informed consent, 104 patients will be randomized between standard care using primary wound closure of the perineum and the experimental arm consisting of suturing a biological mesh derived from porcine dermis in the pelvic floor defect, followed by perineal closure similar to the control arm. Patients will be followed for one year after the intervention and outcome assessors and patients will be blinded for the study treatment. The primary endpoint is the percentage of uncomplicated perineal wound healing, defined as a Southampton wound score of less than II on day 30. Secondary endpoints are hospital stay, incidence of perineal hernia, quality of life, and costs.
Discussion
The BIOPEX-study is the first randomized controlled multicentre study to determine the additive value of using a biological mesh for perineal wound closure after eAPR with neo-adjuvant radiotherapy compared to primary perineal wound closure with regard to perineal wound healing and the occurrence of perineal hernia.
Trail registration number
NCT01927497 (Clinicaltrial.gov).
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-14-58
PMCID: PMC4158342  PMID: 25163547
Abdominoperineal resection; Rectal cancer; Radiotherapy; Primary perineal wound closure; Biological mesh; perineal wound infection; Perineal wound healing
2.  The CARTS study: Chemoradiation therapy for rectal cancer in the distal rectum followed by organ-sparing transanal endoscopic microsurgery 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:34.
Background
The CARTS study is a multicenter feasibility study, investigating the role of rectum saving surgery for distal rectal cancer.
Methods/Design
Patients with a clinical T1-3 N0 M0 rectal adenocarcinoma below 10 cm from the anal verge will receive neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy (25 fractions of 2 Gy with concurrent capecitabine). Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) will be performed 8 - 10 weeks after the end of the preoperative treatment depending on the clinical response.
Primary objective is to determine the number of patients with a (near) complete pathological response after chemoradiation therapy and TEM. Secondary objectives are the local recurrence rate and quality of life after this combined therapeutic modality. A three-step analysis will be performed after 20, 33 and 55 patients to ensure the feasibility of this treatment protocol.
Discussion
The CARTS-study is one of the first prospective multicentre trials to investigate the role of a rectum saving treatment modality using chemoradiation therapy and local excision. The CARTS study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01273051)
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-34
PMCID: PMC3295682  PMID: 22171697
3.  DIRECT trial. Diverticulitis recurrences or continuing symptoms: Operative versus conservative Treatment. A MULTICENTER RANDOMISED CLINICAL TRIAL 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:25.
Background
Persisting abdominal complaints are common after an episode of diverticulitis treated conservatively. Furthermore, some patients develop frequent recurrences. These two groups of patients suffer greatly from their disease, as shown by impaired health related quality of life and increased costs due to multiple specialist consultations, pain medication and productivity losses.
Both conservative and operative management of patients with persisting abdominal complaints after an episode of diverticulitis and/or frequently recurring diverticulitis are applied. However, direct comparison by a randomised controlled trial is necessary to determine which is superior in relieving symptoms, optimising health related quality of life, minimising costs and preventing diverticulitis recurrences against acceptable morbidity and mortality associated with surgery or the occurrence of a complicated recurrence after conservative management.
We, therefore, constructed a randomised clinical trial comparing these two treatment strategies.
Methods/design
The DIRECT trial is a multicenter randomised clinical trial. Patients (18-75 years) presenting themselves with persisting abdominal complaints after an episode of diverticulitis and/or three or more recurrences within 2 years will be included and randomised. Patients randomised for conservative treatment are treated according to the current daily practice (antibiotics, analgetics and/or expectant management). Patients randomised for elective resection will undergo an elective resection of the affected colon segment. Preferably, a laparoscopic approach is used.
The primary outcome is health related quality of life measured by the Gastro-intestinal Quality of Life Index, Short-Form 36, EQ-5D and a visual analogue scale for pain quantification. Secondary endpoints are morbidity, mortality and total costs. The total follow-up will be three years.
Discussion
Considering the high incidence and the multicenter design of this study, it may be assumed that the number of patients needed for this study (n = 214), may be gathered within one and a half year.
Depending on the expertise and available equipment, we prefer to perform a laparoscopic resection on patients randomised for elective surgery. Should this be impossible, an open technique may be used as this also reflects the current situation.
Trial Registration
(Trial register number: NTR1478)
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-25
PMCID: PMC2928179  PMID: 20691040

Results 1-3 (3)