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1.  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
2.  Pancreatic cyst development: insights from von Hippel-Lindau disease 
Cilia  2013;2:3.
Pancreatic cysts are a heterogeneous group of lesions, which can be benign or malignant. Due to improved imaging techniques, physicians are more often confronted with pancreatic cysts. Little is known about the origin of pancreatic cysts in general. Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is an atypical ciliopathy and inherited tumor syndrome, caused by a mutation in the VHL tumor suppressor gene encoding the VHL protein (pVHL). VHL patients are prone to develop cysts and neuroendocrine tumors in the pancreas in addition to several other benign and malignant neoplasms. Remarkably, pancreatic cysts occur in approximately 70% of VHL patients, making it the only hereditary tumor syndrome with such a discernible expression of pancreatic cysts. Cellular loss of pVHL due to biallelic mutation can model pancreatic cystogenesis in other organisms, suggesting a causal relationship. Here, we give a comprehensive overview of various pVHL functions, focusing on those that can potentially explain pancreatic cyst development in VHL disease. Based on preclinical studies, cilia loss in ductal cells is probably an important early event in pancreatic cyst development.
doi:10.1186/2046-2530-2-3
PMCID: PMC3579754  PMID: 23384121
Cilia; Cytoskeleton; Pancreatic cysts or serous cystadenomas; VHL tumor suppressor protein; von Hippel-Lindau disease
3.  A Critical Appraisal of Circumferential Resection Margins in Esophageal Carcinoma 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2009;17(3):812-820.
Background
In esophageal cancer, circumferential resection margins (CRMs) are considered to be of relevant prognostic value, but a reliable definition of tumor-free CRM is still unclear. The aim of this study was to appraise the clinical prognostic value of microscopic CRM involvement and to determine the optimal limit of CRM.
Methods
To define the optimal tumor-free CRM we included 98 consecutive patients who underwent extended esophagectomy with microscopic tumor-free resection margins (R0) between 1997 and 2006. CRMs were measured in tenths of millimeters with inked lateral margins. Outcome of patients with CRM involvement was compared with a statistically comparable control group of 21 patients with microscopic positive resection margins (R1).
Results
A cutoff point of CRM at ≤1.0 mm and >1.0 mm appeared to be an adequate marker for survival and prognosis (both P < 0.001). The outcome in patients with CRMs ≤1.0 and >0 mm was equal to that in patients with CRM of 0 mm (P = 0.43). CRM involvement was an independent prognostic factor for both recurrent disease (P = 0.001) and survival (P < 0.001). Survival of patients with positive CRMs (≤1 mm) did not significantly differ from patients with an R1 resection (P = 0.12).
Conclusion
Involvement of the circumferential resection margins is an independent prognostic factor for recurrent disease and survival in esophageal cancer. The optimal limit for a positive CRM is ≤1 mm and for a free CRM is >1.0 mm. Patients with unfavorable CRM should be approached as patients with R1 resection with corresponding outcome.
doi:10.1245/s10434-009-0827-4
PMCID: PMC2820690  PMID: 19924487
4.  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

Results 1-4 (4)