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1.  SUBMIT: Systemic therapy with or without up front surgery of the primary tumor in breast cancer patients with distant metastases at initial presentation 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:5.
Background
Five percent of all patients with breast cancer have distant metastatic disease at initial presentation. Because metastatic breast cancer is considered to be an incurable disease, it is generally treated with a palliative intent. Recent non-randomized studies have demonstrated that (complete) resection of the primary tumor is associated with a significant improvement of the survival of patients with primary metastatic breast cancer. However, other studies have suggested that the claimed survival benefit by surgery may be caused by selection bias. Therefore, a randomized controlled trial will be performed to assess whether breast surgery in patients with primary distant metastatic breast cancer will improve the prognosis.
Design
Randomization will take place after the diagnosis of primary distant metastatic breast cancer. Patients will either be randomized to up front surgery of the breast tumor followed by systemic therapy or to systemic therapy, followed by delayed local treatment of the breast tumor if clinically indicated.
Patients with primary distant metastatic breast cancer, with no prior treatment of the breast cancer, who are 18 years or older and fit enough to undergo surgery and systemic therapy are eligible. Important exclusion criteria are: prior invasive breast cancer, surgical treatment or radiotherapy of this breast tumor before randomization, irresectable T4 tumor and synchronous bilateral breast cancer. The primary endpoint is 2-year survival. Quality of life and local tumor control are among the secondary endpoints.
Based on the results of prior research it was calculated that 258 patients are needed in each treatment arm, assuming a power of 80%. Total accrual time is expected to take 60 months. An interim analysis will be performed to assess any clinically significant safety concerns and to determine whether there is evidence that up front surgery is clinically or statistically inferior to systemic therapy with respect to the primary endpoint.
Discussion
The SUBMIT study is a randomized controlled trial that will provide evidence on whether or not surgery of the primary tumor in breast cancer patients with metastatic disease at initial presentation results in an improved survival.
Trial registration
NCT01392586.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-12-5
PMCID: PMC3348008  PMID: 22469291
Primary metastatic breast cancer; surgery; randomised controlled trial
2.  The influence of micrometastases on prognosis and survival in stage I-II colon cancer patients: the Enroute⊕ Study 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:11.
Background
The presence of lymph node metastases remains the most reliable prognostic predictor and the gold indicator for adjuvant treatment in colon cancer (CC). In spite of a potentially curative resection, 20 to 30% of CC patients testing negative for lymph node metastases (i.e. pN0) will subsequently develop locoregional and/or systemic metastases within 5 years. The presence of occult nodal isolated tumor cells (ITCs) and/or micrometastases (MMs) at the time of resection predisposes CC patients to high risk for disease recurrence. These pN0micro+ patients harbouring occult micrometastases may benefit from adjuvant treatment. The purpose of the present study is to delineate the subset of pN0 patients with micrometastases (pN0micro+) and evaluate the benefits from adjuvant chemotherapy in pN0micro+ CC patients.
Methods/design
EnRoute+ is an open label, multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trial. All CC patients (age above 18 years) without synchronous locoregional lymph node and/or systemic metastases (clinical stage I-II disease) and operated upon with curative intent are eligible for inclusion. All resected specimens of patients are subject to an ex vivo sentinel lymph node mapping procedure (SLNM) following curative resection. The investigation for micrometastases in pN0 patients is done by extended serial sectioning and immunohistochemistry for pan-cytokeratin in sentinel lymph nodes which are tumour negative upon standard pathological examination. Patients with ITC/MM-positive sentinel lymph nodes (pN0micro+) are randomized for adjuvant chemotherapy following the CAPOX treatment scheme or observation. The primary endpoint is 3-year disease free survival (DFS).
Discussion
The EnRoute+ study is designed to improve prognosis in high-risk stage I/II pN0 micro+ CC patients by reducing disease recurrence by adjuvant chemotherapy.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01097265
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-11
PMCID: PMC3123166  PMID: 21569373
3.  Preoperative biliary drainage for periampullary tumors causing obstructive jaundice; DRainage vs. (direct) OPeration (DROP-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:3.
Background
Surgery in patients with obstructive jaundice caused by a periampullary (pancreas, papilla, distal bile duct) tumor is associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications than in non-jaundiced patients. Preoperative biliary drainage was introduced in an attempt to improve the general condition and thus reduce postoperative morbidity and mortality. Early studies showed a reduction in morbidity. However, more recently the focus has shifted towards the negative effects of drainage, such as an increase of infectious complications. Whether biliary drainage should always be performed in jaundiced patients remains controversial. The randomized controlled multicenter DROP-trial (DRainage vs. Operation) was conceived to compare the outcome of a 'preoperative biliary drainage strategy' (standard strategy) with that of an 'early-surgery' strategy, with respect to the incidence of severe complications (primary-outcome measure), hospital stay, number of invasive diagnostic tests, costs, and quality of life.
Methods/design
Patients with obstructive jaundice due to a periampullary tumor, eligible for exploration after staging with CT scan, and scheduled to undergo a "curative" resection, will be randomized to either "early surgical treatment" (within one week) or "preoperative biliary drainage" (for 4 weeks) and subsequent surgical treatment (standard treatment). Primary outcome measure is the percentage of severe complications up to 90 days after surgery. The sample size calculation is based on the equivalence design for the primary outcome measure. If equivalence is found, the comparison of the secondary outcomes will be essential in selecting the preferred strategy. Based on a 40% complication rate for early surgical treatment and 48% for preoperative drainage, equivalence is taken to be demonstrated if the percentage of severe complications with early surgical treatment is not more than 10% higher compared to standard treatment: preoperative biliary drainage. Accounting for a 10% dropout, 105 patients are needed in each arm resulting in a study population of 210 (alpha = 0.95, beta = 0.8).
Discussion
The DROP-trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether or not preoperative biliary drainage is to be performed in patients with obstructive jaundice due to a periampullary tumor.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-7-3
PMCID: PMC1828149  PMID: 17352805

Results 1-3 (3)