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1.  Transluminal endoscopic step-up approach versus minimally invasive surgical step-up approach in patients with infected necrotising pancreatitis (TENSION trial): design and rationale of a randomised controlled multicenter trial [ISRCTN09186711] 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:161.
Background
Infected necrotising pancreatitis is a potentially lethal disease that nearly always requires intervention. Traditionally, primary open necrosectomy has been the treatment of choice. In recent years, the surgical step-up approach, consisting of percutaneous catheter drainage followed, if necessary, by (minimally invasive) surgical necrosectomy has become the standard of care. A promising minimally invasive alternative is the endoscopic transluminal step-up approach. This approach consists of endoscopic transluminal drainage followed, if necessary, by endoscopic transluminal necrosectomy. We hypothesise that the less invasive endoscopic step-up approach is superior to the surgical step-up approach in terms of clinical and economic outcomes.
Methods/Design
The TENSION trial is a randomised controlled, parallel-group superiority multicenter trial. Patients with (suspected) infected necrotising pancreatitis with an indication for intervention and in whom both treatment modalities are deemed possible, will be randomised to either an endoscopic transluminal or a surgical step-up approach. During a 4 year study period, 98 patients will be enrolled from 24 hospitals of the Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. The primary endpoint is a composite of death and major complications within 6 months following randomisation. Secondary endpoints include complications such as pancreaticocutaneous fistula, exocrine or endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, need for additional radiological, endoscopic or surgical intervention, the need for necrosectomy after drainage, the number of (re-)interventions, quality of life, and total direct and indirect costs.
Discussion
The TENSION trial will answer the question whether an endoscopic step-up approach reduces the combined primary endpoint of death and major complications, as well as hospital stay and related costs compared with a surgical step-up approach in patients with infected necrotising pancreatitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-161
PMCID: PMC4222267  PMID: 24274589
Acute pancreatitis; Necrotising; Treatment; Drainage; Trial; Endoscopy; Minimally invasive; Surgery; Necrosectomy; Pancreas
2.  Early surgery versus optimal current step-up practice for chronic pancreatitis (ESCAPE): design and rationale of a randomized trial 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:49.
Background
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.
Methods/design
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%).
Discussion
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
ISRCTN: ISRCTN45877994
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-49
PMCID: PMC3610165  PMID: 23506415
Chronic pancreatitis; Pain; Surgical management; Surgery; Endoscopic treatment; Endoscopy; ERCP; Opioid; Pancreaticojejunostomy; Frey procedure
3.  Pancreatitis of biliary origin, optimal timing of cholecystectomy (PONCHO trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:225.
Background
After an initial attack of biliary pancreatitis, cholecystectomy minimizes the risk of recurrent biliary pancreatitis and other gallstone-related complications. Guidelines advocate performing cholecystectomy within 2 to 4 weeks after discharge for mild biliary pancreatitis. During this waiting period, the patient is at risk of recurrent biliary events. In current clinical practice, surgeons usually postpone cholecystectomy for 6 weeks due to a perceived risk of a more difficult dissection in the early days following pancreatitis and for logistical reasons. We hypothesize that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy minimizes the risk of recurrent biliary pancreatitis or other complications of gallstone disease in patients with mild biliary pancreatitis without increasing the difficulty of dissection and the surgical complication rate compared with interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Methods/Design
PONCHO is a randomized controlled, parallel-group, assessor-blinded, superiority multicenter trial. Patients are randomly allocated to undergo early laparoscopic cholecystectomy, within 72 hours after randomization, or interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy, 25 to 30 days after randomization. During a 30-month period, 266 patients will be enrolled from 18 hospitals of the Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. The primary endpoint is a composite endpoint of mortality and acute re-admissions for biliary events (that is, recurrent biliary pancreatitis, acute cholecystitis, symptomatic/obstructive choledocholithiasis requiring endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography including cholangitis (with/without endoscopic sphincterotomy), and uncomplicated biliary colics) occurring within 6 months following randomization. Secondary endpoints include the individual endpoints of the composite endpoint, surgical and other complications, technical difficulty of cholecystectomy and costs.
Discussion
The PONCHO trial is designed to show that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (within 72 hours) reduces the combined endpoint of mortality and re-admissions for biliary events as compared with interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy (between 25 and 30 days) after recovery of a first episode of mild biliary pancreatitis.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN72764151
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-225
PMCID: PMC3517749  PMID: 23181667
Acute pancreatitis; Gallstones; Trial; Common bile duct; Cholecystitis; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography; Surgery; Cholecystectomy; Timing; Mortality
4.  Fully covered self-expandable metal stents (SEMS), partially covered SEMS and self-expandable plastic stents for the treatment of benign esophageal ruptures and anastomotic leaks 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:19.
Background
Benign esophageal ruptures and anastomotic leaks are life-threatening conditions that are often treated surgically. Recently, placement of partially and fully covered metal or plastic stents has emerged as a minimally invasive treatment option. We aimed to determine the clinical effectiveness of covered stent placement for the treatment of esophageal ruptures and anastomotic leaks with special emphasis on different stent designs.
Methods
Consecutive patients who underwent placement of a fully covered self-expandable metal stent (FSEMS), a partially covered SEMS (PSEMS) or a self-expanding plastic stent (SEPS) for a benign esophageal rupture or anastomotic leak after upper gastrointestinal surgery in the period 2007-2010 were included. Data on patient demographics, type of lesion, stent placement and removal, clinical success and complications were collected
Results
A total of 52 patients received 83 esophageal stents (61 PSEMS, 15 FSEMS, 7 SEPS) for an anastomotic leak (n = 32), iatrogenic rupture (n = 13), Boerhaave's syndrome (n = 4) or other cause (n = 3). Endoscopic stent removal was successful in all but eight patients treated with a PSEMS due to tissue ingrowth. Clinical success was achieved in 34 (76%, intention-to-treat: 65%) patients (PSEMS: 73%, FSEMS: 83%, SEPS: 83%) after a median of 1 (range 1-5) stent and a median stenting time of 39 (range 7-120) days. In total, 33 complications in 24 (46%) patients occurred (tissue in- or overgrowth (n = 8), stent migration (n = 10), ruptured stent cover (all Ultraflex; n = 6), food obstruction (n = 3), severe pain (n = 2), esophageal rupture (n = 2), hemorrhage (n = 2)). One (2%) patient died of a stent-related cause.
Conclusions
Covered stents placed for a period of 5-6 weeks may well be an alternative to surgery for treating benign esophageal ruptures or anastomotic leaks. As efficacy between PSEMS, FSEMS and SEPS is not different, stent choice should depend on expected risks of stent migration (SEPS and FSEMS) and tissue in- or overgrowth (PSEMS).
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-19
PMCID: PMC3313862  PMID: 22375711
5.  Transanal endoscopic microsurgery versus endoscopic mucosal resection for large rectal adenomas (TREND-study) 
BMC Surgery  2009;9:4.
Background
Recent non-randomized studies suggest that extended endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is equally effective in removing large rectal adenomas as transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM). If equally effective, EMR might be a more cost-effective approach as this strategy does not require expensive equipment, general anesthesia and hospital admission. Furthermore, EMR appears to be associated with fewer complications.
The aim of this study is to compare the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of TEM and EMR for the resection of large rectal adenomas.
Methods/design
Multicenter randomized trial among 15 hospitals in the Netherlands. Patients with a rectal adenoma ≥ 3 cm, located between 1–15 cm ab ano, will be randomized to a TEM- or EMR-treatment strategy. For TEM, patients will be treated under general anesthesia, adenomas will be dissected en-bloc by a full-thickness excision, and patients will be admitted to the hospital. For EMR, no or conscious sedation is used, lesions will be resected through the submucosal plane in a piecemeal fashion, and patients will be discharged from the hospital. Residual adenoma that is visible during the first surveillance endoscopy at 3 months will be removed endoscopically in both treatment strategies and is considered as part of the primary treatment.
Primary outcome measure is the proportion of patients with recurrence after 3 months. Secondary outcome measures are: 2) number of days not spent in hospital from initial treatment until 2 years afterwards; 3) major and minor morbidity; 4) disease specific and general quality of life; 5) anorectal function; 6) health care utilization and costs. A cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis of EMR against TEM for large rectal adenomas will be performed from a societal perspective with respectively the costs per recurrence free patient and the cost per quality adjusted life year as outcome measures.
Based on comparable recurrence rates for TEM and EMR of 3.3% and considering an upper-limit of 10% for EMR to be non-inferior (beta-error 0.2 and one-sided alpha-error 0.05), 89 patients are needed per group.
Discussion
The TREND study is the first randomized trial evaluating whether TEM or EMR is more cost-effective for the treatment of large rectal adenomas.
Trial registration number
(trialregister.nl) NTR1422
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-9-4
PMCID: PMC2664790  PMID: 19284647
6.  Colonic stenting as bridge to surgery versus emergency surgery for management of acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction: a multicenter randomized trial (Stent-in 2 study) 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:12.
Background
Acute left-sided colonic obstruction is most often caused by malignancy and the surgical treatment is associated with a high mortality and morbidity rate. Moreover, these operated patients end up with a temporary or permanent stoma. Initial insertion of an enteral stent to decompress the obstructed colon, allowing for surgery to be performed electively, is gaining popularity. In uncontrolled studies stent placement before elective surgery has been suggested to decrease mortality, morbidity and number of colostomies. However stent perforation can lead to peritoneal tumor spill, changing a potentially curable disease in an incurable one. Therefore it is of paramount importance to compare the outcomes of colonic stenting followed by elective surgery with emergency surgery for the management of acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction in a randomized multicenter fashion.
Methods/design
Patients with acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction eligible for this study will be randomized to either emergency surgery (current standard treatment) or colonic stenting as bridge to elective surgery. Outcome measurements are effectiveness and costs of both strategies. Effectiveness will be evaluated in terms of quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Quality of life will be measured with standardized questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30, EORTC QLQ-CR38, EQ-5D and EQ-VAS). Morbidity is defined as every event leading to hospital admission or prolonging hospital stay. Mortality will be analyzed as total mortality as well as procedure-related mortality. The total costs of treatment will be evaluated by counting volumes and calculating unit prices. Including 120 patients on a 1:1 basis will have 80% power to detect an effect size of 0.5 on the EORTC QLQ-C30 global health scale, using a two group t-test with a 0.05 two-sided significance level. Differences in quality of life and morbidity will be analyzed using mixed-models repeated measures analysis of variance. Mortality will be compared using Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank statistics.
Discussion
The Stent-in 2 study is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether or not colonic stenting as bridge to surgery is to be performed in patients with acute left-sided colonic obstruction.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN46462267.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-7-12
PMCID: PMC1925059  PMID: 17608947
7.  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.
Background
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.
Methods/design
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.
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-6-6
PMCID: PMC1508161  PMID: 16606471

Results 1-7 (7)