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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar 7;14(9):1430-6.

Percutaneous cryosurgery for the treatment of hepatic colorectal metastases.

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  • 1Cryosurgery Center for Cancer, Fuda Cancer Hospital Guangzhou, 167, West Xingang Rd, Guangzhou 510300, Guangdong Province, China.



To determine the safety and efficacy of efficacy of percutaneous cryosurgery for treatment of patients with hepatic colorectal metastases.


Three hundred and twenty-six patients with non-resectable hepatic colorectal metastases underwent percutaneous cryosurgery under the guidance of ultrasound or CT. Follow-up was 1 mo after cryosurgery and then every 4 mo thereafter by assessment of tumor markers, liver ultrasonography, and abdominal CT. For lesions suspicious of recurrence, a liver biopsy was performed and subsequent repeat cryosurgery was given if histology was positive for cancer.


All patients underwent a total of 526 procedures of cryosurgery. There were 151 patients who underwent repeat procedures of cryosurgery for recurrent tumors in the liver and extrahepatic places. At 3 mo after cryosurgery, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels in 197 (77.5%) patients who had elevated markers before cryosurgery decreased to normal range. Among 280 patients who received CT following-up, cryotreated lesions showed complete response (CR) in 41 patients (14.6%), partial response (PR) in 115 patients (41.1%), stable disease (SD) in 68 patients (24.3%) and progressive disease (PD) in 56 patients (20%). The recurrence rate was 47.2% during a median follow-up of 32 mo (range, 7-61). Sixty one percent of the recurrences were seen in liver only and 13.9% in liver and extrahepatic areas. The recurrence rate at cryotreated site was only 6.4% for all cases. During a median follow-up of 36 mo (7-62 mo), the median survival of all patient was 29 mo (range 3-62 mo). Overall survival was 78%, 62%, 41%, 34% and 23% at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years, respectively, after the treatment. Patients with tumor size less than 3 cm, tumor in right lobe of liver, lower CEA levels (<100 ng/dL) and post-cryosurgery TACE had higher survival rate. There was no significant difference in terms of survival based on the number of tumors, pre-cryosurgery chemotherapy and the timing of the development of metastases (synchronous vs metachronous). Patients who underwent 2-3 procedures of cryosurgery had increased survival compared to patients who received cryosurgery once only. There was no intra-cryosurgery mortality. Main adverse effects, such as hepatic bleeding, cryoshock, biliary fistula, liver failure, renal insufficiency and liver abscess were only observed in 0.3%-1.5% of patients.


Percutaneous cryosurgery was a safe modality for hepatic colorectal metastases. Rather than an alternative to resection, this technique should be regarded as a complement to hepatectomy and as an additional means of achieving tumor eradication when total excision is not possible.

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