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HPB (Oxford). 2012 May;14(5):298-309. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-2574.2012.00447.x. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Detailed liver-specific imaging prior to pre-operative chemotherapy for colorectal liver metastases reduces intra-hepatic recurrence and the need for a repeat hepatectomy.

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  • 1Hepatobiliary Unit, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basingstoke, UK.



Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) reduces the accuracy of liver imaging which may understage patients pre-operatively. Retrospective review of a prospective database to determine whether liver-specific magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prior to pre-operative chemotherapy affects intra-hepatic recurrence and long-term outcome after hepatectomy.


Between 2003 and 2009, 242 patients with CRLM underwent a hepatectomy after ≥3 cycles of oxaliplatin or irinotecan-based chemotherapy. All had a liver-specific MRI immediately pre-operatively. The outcome of patients who had a liver-specific MRI prior to chemotherapy (PCI group, n= 92) was compared with those who did not (non-PCI group, n= 150).


A liver-specific MRI pre-chemotherapy changed the staging in 56% of patients. At a median (range) follow-up of 55 (6-94) months, there was a higher incidence of intra-hepatic recurrence at a new site in the non-PCI group (65% vs. 48% in the PCI group, P= 0.041) and an increased rate of recurrence in patients with the same number of lesions pre- and post-chemotherapy [hazard ratio (HR) 2.02, 1:10-3.37, P= 0.024]. The non-PCI group underwent more repeat hepatectomies than the PCI group (24.7% vs. 13%, P= 0.034), achieving similar long-term survival.


A liver-specific MRI prior to chemotherapy reduces intra-hepatic recurrence and avoids a repeat hepatectomy.

© 2012 International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.

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