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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 ladies trial: laparoscopic peritoneal lavage or resection for purulent peritonitisA and Hartmann's procedure or resection with primary anastomosis for purulent or faecal peritonitisB in perforated diverticulitis (NTR2037) 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:29.
Background
Recently, excellent results are reported on laparoscopic lavage in patients with purulent perforated diverticulitis as an alternative for sigmoidectomy and ostomy.
The objective of this study is to determine whether LaparOscopic LAvage and drainage is a safe and effective treatment for patients with purulent peritonitis (LOLA-arm) and to determine the optimal resectional strategy in patients with a purulent or faecal peritonitis (DIVA-arm: perforated DIVerticulitis: sigmoidresection with or without Anastomosis).
Methods/Design
In this multicentre randomised trial all patients with perforated diverticulitis are included. Upon laparoscopy, patients with purulent peritonitis are treated with laparoscopic lavage and drainage, Hartmann's procedure or sigmoidectomy with primary anastomosis in a ratio of 2:1:1 (LOLA-arm). Patients with faecal peritonitis will be randomised 1:1 between Hartmann's procedure and resection with primary anastomosis (DIVA-arm). The primary combined endpoint of the LOLA-arm is major morbidity and mortality. A sample size of 132:66:66 patients will be able to detect a difference in the primary endpoint from 25% in resectional groups compared to 10% in the laparoscopic lavage group (two sided alpha = 5%, power = 90%). Endpoint of the DIVA-arm is stoma free survival one year after initial surgery. In this arm 212 patients are needed to significantly demonstrate a difference of 30% (log rank test two sided alpha = 5% and power = 90%) in favour of the patients with resection with primary anastomosis. Secondary endpoints for both arms are the number of days alive and outside the hospital, health related quality of life, health care utilisation and associated costs.
Discussion
The Ladies trial is a nationwide multicentre randomised trial on perforated diverticulitis that will provide evidence on the merits of laparoscopic lavage and drainage for purulent generalised peritonitis and on the optimal resectional strategy for both purulent and faecal generalised peritonitis.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register NTR2037
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-29
PMCID: PMC2974662  PMID: 20955571
3.  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
4.  Laparoscopic ileocolic resection versus infliximab treatment of distal ileitis in Crohn's disease: a randomized multicenter trial (LIR!C-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:15.
Background
With the availability of infliximab, nowadays recurrent Crohn's disease, defined as disease refractory to immunomodulatory agents that has been treated with steroids, is generally treated with infliximab. Infliximab is an effective but expensive treatment and once started it is unclear when therapy can be discontinued. Surgical resection has been the golden standard in recurrent Crohn's disease. Laparoscopic ileocolic resection proved to be safe and is characterized by a quick symptom reduction.
The objective of this study is to compare infliximab treatment with laparoscopic ileocolic resection in patients with recurrent Crohn's disease of the distal ileum with respect to quality of life and costs.
Methods/design
The study is designed as a multicenter randomized clinical trial including patients with Crohn's disease located in the terminal ileum that require infliximab treatment following recent consensus statements on inflammatory bowel disease treatment: moderate to severe disease activity in patients that fail to respond to steroid therapy or immunomodulatory therapy. Patients will be randomized to receive either infliximab or undergo a laparoscopic ileocolic resection. Primary outcomes are quality of life and costs. Secondary outcomes are hospital stay, early and late morbidity, sick leave and surgical recurrence. In order to detect an effect size of 0.5 on the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire at a 5% two sided significance level with a power of 80%, a sample size of 65 patients per treatment group can be calculated. An economic evaluation will be performed by assessing the marginal direct medical, non-medical and time costs and the costs per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) will be calculated. For both treatment strategies a cost-utility ratio will be calculated. Patients will be included from December 2007.
Discussion
The LIR!C-trial is a randomized multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether infliximab treatment or surgery is the best treatment for recurrent distal ileitis in Crohn's disease.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register NTR1150
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-15
PMCID: PMC2533646  PMID: 18721465
5.  The Anal Fistula Plug versus the mucosal advancement flap for the treatment of Anorectal Fistula (PLUG trial) 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:11.
Background
Low transsphincteric fistulas less than 1/3 of the sphincter complex are easy to treat by fistulotomy with a high success rate. High transsphincteric fistulas remain a surgical challenge. Various surgical procedures are available, but recurrence rates of these techniques are disappointingly high. The mucosal flap advancement is considered the gold standard for the treatment of high perianal fistula of cryptoglandular origin by most colorectal surgeons. In the literature a recurrence rate between 0 and 63% is reported for the mucosal flap advancement. Recently Armstrong and colleagues reported on a new biologic anal fistula plug, a bioabsorbable xenograft made of lyophilized porcine intestinal submucosa. Their prospective series of 15 patients with high perianal fistula treated with the anal fistula plug showed promising results.
The anal fistula plug trial is designed to compare the anal fistula plug with the mucosal flap advancement in the treatment of high perianal fistula in terms of success rate, continence, postoperative pain, and quality of life.
Methods/design
The PLUG trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial. Sixty patients with high perianal fistulas of cryptoglandular origin will be randomized to either the fistula plug or the mucosal advancement flap. Study parameters will be anorectal fistula closure-rate, continence, post-operative pain, and quality of life. Patients will be followed-up at two weeks, four weeks, and 16 weeks. At the final follow-up closure rate is determined by clinical examination by a surgeon blinded for the intervention.
Discussion
Before broadly implementing the anal fistula plug results of randomized trials using the plug should be awaited. This randomized controlled trial comparing the anal fistula plug and the mucosal advancement flap should provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of the anal fistula plug in the treatment of high perianal fistulas.
Trial registration
ISRCTN: 97376902
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-11
PMCID: PMC2467399  PMID: 18573198
6.  The Sigma-trial protocol: a prospective double-blind multi-centre comparison of laparoscopic versus open elective sigmoid resection in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:16.
Backround
Diverticulosis is a common disease in the western society with an incidence of 33–66%. 10–25% of these patients will develop diverticulitis. In order to prevent a high-risk acute operation it is advised to perform elective sigmoid resection after two episodes of diverticulitis in the elderly patient or after one episode in the younger (< 50 years) patient. Open sigmoid resection is still the gold standard, but laparoscopic colon resections seem to have certain advantages over open procedures. On the other hand, a double blind investigation has never been performed. The Sigma-trial is designed to evaluate the presumed advantages of laparoscopic over open sigmoid resections in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis.
Method
Indication for elective resection is one episode of diverticulitis in patients < 50 years and two episodes in patient > 50 years or in case of progressive abdominal complaints due to strictures caused by a previous episode of diverticulits. The diagnosis is confirmed by CT-scan, barium enema and/or coloscopy.
It is required that the participating surgeons have performed at least 15 laparoscopic and open sigmoid resections. Open resection is performed by median laparotomy, laparoscopic resection is approached by 4 or 5 cannula. Sigmoid and colon which contain serosal changes or induration are removed and a tension free anastomosis is created. After completion of either surgical procedure an opaque dressing will be used, covering from 10 cm above the umbilicus to the pubic bone. Surgery details will be kept separate from the patient's notes.
Primary endpoints are the postoperative morbidity and mortality. We divided morbidity in minor (e.g. wound infection), major (e.g. anastomotic leakage) and late (e.g. incisional hernias) complications, data will be collected during hospital stay and after six weeks and six months postoperative. Secondary endpoints are the operative and the postoperative recovery data. Operative data include duration of the operation, blood loss and conversion to laparotomy. Post operative recovery consists of return to normal diet, pain, analgesics, general health (SF-36 questionnaire) and duration of hospital stay.
Discussion
The Sigma-trial is a prospective, multi-center, double-blind, randomized study to define the role of laparoscopic sigmoid resection in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-7-16
PMCID: PMC1955435  PMID: 17683563
7.  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
8.  Perioperative strategy in colonic surgery; LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care (LAFA trial) 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:16.
Background
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.
Methods/design
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.
Discussion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-6-16
PMCID: PMC1693570  PMID: 17134506

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