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J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Dec;22(4 Suppl):149-56.

Treatment options for liver metastases from colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Surgery Branch, Department of Oncological and Surgical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.


The liver is the most common site of distant metastasis from colorectal cancer. About one-fourth of patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer have no other sites of metastasis. Surgical resection of colorectal cancer liver metastases can result in a 24%-38% five-year survival. However, only a minority of patients are candidates for resection and no adjuvant treatment has been demonstrated to be effective in increasing the survival rate following radical surgery. For unresectable disease, several treatments have been tested in the clinical setting, although none of them can be currently considered a standard approach. Systemic chemotherapy is not generally considered a treatment for cure, although newer regimens appear to improve median survival. Locoregional therapies such hepatic intra-arterial chemotherapy and isolated hepatic perfusion may be offered to patients with unresectable liver metastases in the absence of extra-hepatic disease. However, the efficacy of these treatments is still being determined. Both systemic and locoregional chemotherapy might be useful in the neoadjuvant setting to increase the resectability of liver metastases initially not amenable to surgical resection.

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