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1.  The CARTS study: Chemoradiation therapy for rectal cancer in the distal rectum followed by organ-sparing transanal endoscopic microsurgery 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:34.
Background
The CARTS study is a multicenter feasibility study, investigating the role of rectum saving surgery for distal rectal cancer.
Methods/Design
Patients with a clinical T1-3 N0 M0 rectal adenocarcinoma below 10 cm from the anal verge will receive neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy (25 fractions of 2 Gy with concurrent capecitabine). Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) will be performed 8 - 10 weeks after the end of the preoperative treatment depending on the clinical response.
Primary objective is to determine the number of patients with a (near) complete pathological response after chemoradiation therapy and TEM. Secondary objectives are the local recurrence rate and quality of life after this combined therapeutic modality. A three-step analysis will be performed after 20, 33 and 55 patients to ensure the feasibility of this treatment protocol.
Discussion
The CARTS-study is one of the first prospective multicentre trials to investigate the role of a rectum saving treatment modality using chemoradiation therapy and local excision. The CARTS study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01273051)
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-34
PMCID: PMC3295682  PMID: 22171697
2.  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
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)