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Chirurg. 2001 Jul;72(7):759-64.

[Adjuvant chemotherapy in liver malignancy for improving operability].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung Gastroenterologie und Hepatologie, Zentrum Innere Medizin, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover.


Complete tumor resection is the only curative option for patients with colorectal liver metastases. Hepatic resection is frequently not possible for technical reasons: because of large tumors, multiple or bilateral metastases, or tumors that are too close to vessels. In these cases chemotherapy might downstage the tumor volume and facilitate secondary curative resection in patients initially not eligible for curative surgery. Treatment with fluorouracil (5-Fu) alone has resulted in disappointing response rates of about 10-20% in patients with colorectal liver metastases, which make these protocols useless in the neoadjuvant setting. Because regional chemotherapy into the hepatic arteria results in significantly higher response rates (40-50%), some studies have documented some success in secondary curative surgery after regional chemotherapy of initially unresectable colorectal liver metastases. However, regional chemotherapy is invasive and therefore not standard therapy for every patient with colorectal liver metastases. Recently new exciting treatment options have become available for colorectal cancer. Combinations of chemotherapy consisting of irinotecan and 5-Fu/FA or oxaliplatin and 5-Fu/FA result in response rates of 50% and can be considered a new standard first-line chemotherapy for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Recently, two encouraging retrospective studies have been published with chronomodulated chemotherapy of oxaliplatin and 5-Fu/FA in the setting of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases. With this multidisciplinary approach, antitumor activity of chemotherapy appears to be translated into a long-term survival benefit and some patients with initially unresectable colorectal liver metastases can potentially be cured. As a consequence, on the premises of close cooperation between surgeons and internists, more patients with metastatic colorectal cancer will be cured in the future.

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