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1.  The STAR trial protocol: a randomised multi-stage phase II/III study of Sunitinib comparing temporary cessation with allowing continuation, at the time of maximal radiological response, in the first-line treatment of locally advanced/metastatic Renal Cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:598.
Over recent years a number of novel therapies have shown promise in advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Internationally the standard of care of first-line therapy is sunitinib™, after a clear survival benefit was demonstrated over interferon-α. Convention dictates that sunitinib is continued until evidence of disease progression, assuming tolerability, although there is no evidence that this approach is superior to intermittent periods of treatment. The purpose of the STAR trial is to compare the standard treatment strategy (conventional continuation strategy, CCS) with a novel drug free interval strategy (DFIS) which includes planned treatment breaks.
The STAR trial is an NIHR HTA-funded UK pragmatic randomised phase II/III clinical trial in the first-line treatment of advanced RCC. Participants will be randomised (1:1) to either a sunitinib CCS or a DFIS. The overall aim of the trial is to determine whether a DFIS is non-inferior, in terms of 2-year overall survival (OS) and quality adjusted life years (QALY) (averaged over treatment and follow up), compared to a CCS. The QALY primary endpoint was selected to assess whether any detriment in terms of OS could be balanced with improvements in quality of life (QoL). This is a complex trial with a number of design challenges, and to address these issues a feasibility stage is incorporated into the trial design. Predetermined recruitment (stage A) and efficacy (stage B) intermediary endpoints must be met to allow continuation to the overall phase III trial (stage C). An integral qualitative patient preference and understanding study will occur alongside the feasibility stage to investigate patients’ feelings regarding participation or non-participation in the trial.
The optimal duration of continuing sunitinib in advanced RCC is unknown. Novel targeted therapies do not always have the same constraints to treatment duration as standard chemotherapeutic agents and currently there are no randomised data comparing different treatment durations. Incorporating planned treatment breaks has the potential to improve QoL and cost effectiveness, hopefully without significant detriment on OS, as has been demonstrated in other cancer types with other treatments.
Trial Registration ISRCTN 06473203
PMCID: PMC3583710  PMID: 23241439
Renal cancer; Sunitinib; Intermittent treatment; Quality of life; Quality adjusted life years; Health economics
2.  Cost-effectiveness of total hip arthroplasty versus resurfacing arthroplasty: economic evaluation alongside a clinical trial 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001162.
To report on the relative cost-effectiveness of total hip arthroplasty and resurfacing arthroplasty (replacement of articular surface of femoral head only) in patients with severe arthritis suitable for hip joint resurfacing arthroplasty.
Cost-effectiveness analysis on an intention-to-treat basis of a single-centre, single-blind randomised controlled trial of 126 adult patients within 12 months of treatment. Missing data were imputed using multiple imputations with differences in baseline quality of life and gender adjusted using regression techniques.
A large teaching hospital trust in the UK.
A total of 126 adult patients with severe arthritis of the hip joint suitable for a resurfacing arthroplasty of the hip.
Data were received for 126 patients, 4 of whom did not provide any resource use data. For the remainder, data were imputed for costs or quality of life in at least one time point (baseline, 3, 6 months and 1 year) for 18 patients. Patients in the resurfacing arm had higher quality of life at 12 months (0.795 vs 0.727) and received 0.032 more QALYs within the first 12 months postoperation. At an additional cost of £564, resurfacing arthroplasty offers benefits at £17 451 per QALY within the first 12 months of treatment. When covariates are considered, the health economic case is stronger in men than in women.
Resurfacing arthroplasty appears to offer very short-term efficiency benefits over total hip arthroplasty within a selected patient group. The short-term follow-up in this trial should be noted, particularly in light of the concerns raised regarding adverse reactions to metal debris from metal-on-metal bearing surfaces in the longer term. Longer-term follow-up of resurfacing arthroplasty patients and decision analytic modelling is also advised.
Trial registration
Current controlled Trials ISRCTN33354155. UKCRN 4093.
PMCID: PMC3488749  PMID: 23065450
Orthopaedic & trauma surgery < SURGERY

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