Autogenic splenic implantation versus splenectomy in patients undergoing distal pancreatectomy for benign or low-grade malignant lesions of the distal pancreas: study protocol for a multicentre, open-label, randomized controlled trial (RESTORE)

Mohammed Abu Hilal, Christoph Kuemmerli, Jasper P. Sijberden, Alma Moekotte, Giuseppe Zimmitti, Adnan Alseidi, Horacio J. Asbun, Ravi Marudanayagam, Morgan Bonds, Filipe Kunzler, Robert Sutcliffe, Efrem Eren, John N. Primrose, Anthony P. Williams

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Background: The spleen plays a significant role in the clearance of circulating microorganisms. Sequelae of splenectomy, especially immunodeficiency, can have a deleterious effect on a patient’s health and even lead to death. Hence, splenectomy should be avoided and spleen preservation during elective surgery has become a treatment goal. However, this cannot be achieved in every patient due to intraoperative technical difficulties or oncological reasons. Autogenic splenic implantation (ASI) is currently the only possible way to preserve splenic function when a splenectomy is necessary. Experience largely stems from trauma patients with a splenic rupture. Splenic immune function can be measured by the body’s clearing capacity of encapsulated bacteria. The aim of this study is to assess the splenic immune function after ASI was performed during minimally invasive (laparoscopic or robotic) distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy. Methods: This is the protocol for a multicentre, randomized, open-labelled trial. Thirty participants with benign or low-grade malignant lesions of the distal pancreas requiring minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy will be allocated to either additional intraoperative ASI (intervention) or no further intervention (control). An additional 15 patients who will undergo spleen-preserving distal pancreatectomy serve as the control group with normal splenic function. Six months postoperatively, after assumed restoration of splenic function, patients will be given a Salmonella typhi (Typhim Vi™) vaccine. The Salmonella typhi vaccine is a polysaccharide vaccine. The specific antibody titres immediately before and 4 to 6 weeks after vaccination will be measured. The ratio between pre- and post-vaccination antibody count is the primary outcome measure and secondary outcome measures include intraoperative details, length of hospital stay, 30-day mortality and morbidity. Discussion: This study will investigate the splenic immune function of patients who undergo ASI during minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy. The splenic immune function will be measured using the surrogate outcome of specific antibody titre after vaccination with a Salmonella typhi vaccine. The results will reveal details about splenic function after ASI and guide further treatment options for patients when a splenectomy cannot be avoided. It might eventually lead to a new standard of care making sometimes more demanding and time-consuming spleen-preserving procedures redundant. Trial registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trials Number (ISRCTN) ISRCTN10171587. Prospectively registered on 18 February 2019.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2024


  • Autogenic splenic implantation
  • Distal pancreatectomy
  • Overwhelming post-splenectomy infection syndrome
  • Splenectomy

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