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Am J Surg. 1981 May;141(5):586-9.

Natural history of patients with untreated liver metastases from colorectal cancer.


One hundred fifty-five patients, laparotomized because of colorectal cancer, were retrospectively evaluated with special attention given to the natural course of untreated synchronous liver metastases. The median survival time for patients with synchronous liver metastases was 4.5 months. The survival time was mainly influenced by the extent of tumor involvement in the liver. Patients with elevated levels of serum-alkaline phosphatase at the time of operation had a significantly shorter survival time than those with normal values. Serum alkaline phosphatase levels are a good indication of prognosis. The incidence of synchronous liver metastases was 16 percent. This low rate is partly explained by the development of metachronous liver metastases in five patients within 1 year. Comparison with previous reports, often more than 10 years old, reveals that the poor prognosis of patients with untreated liver metastases from colorectal cancer has remained unchanged.

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