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Zentralbl Chir. 2003 Feb;128(2):87-94.

Prospective pilot study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil, folinic acid and oxaliplatin in resectable liver metastases of colorectal cancer. Analysis of 42 neoadjuvant chemotherapies.

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  • 1Department of General and Vascular Surgery, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt au Main.



Since there are currently no data available from a prospective trial, the primary objective of this prospective study was to investigate whether the rate of R0-liver resections without morbidity would be at least 50 % in patients with neoadjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal liver metastases.


42 patients were treated with a biweekly FOLFOX regimen. Chemotherapy consisted of a 2-hour infusion of folinic acid (FOL) 500 mg/m2, followed by a 24-hour infusion of 5- fluorouracil (F) 2000 mg/m2 daily for two days. Oxaliplatin (OX) 85 mg/m 2 was given simultaneously with FOL. Treatment allocation was randomized with either 3 or 6 cycles for the final 30 patients. A liver resection was performed 2 to 5 weeks after the final infusion.


An objective response was observed in 20 of 42 patients (response rate was 27 % higher after 6 cycles). Liver resection (R0) could be performed in 34 patients. Postoperative complications were reported in 14 patients (13 occurring within 30 days after resection) and severe complications in 5 cases (including two deaths after extended resection). Liver failure and persistent biliary fistula were the most frequently documented complications. There was no relevant difference in safety criteria between 3 and 6 applications.


The use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in resectable liver metastases induced significant remissions without increasing morbidity. The rate of severe complications and cases of no R0-resection in this study was 31 % and was with that significantly lower than 50 % (95 % CI 17.6 %-47.1 %). The risk to the patient is therefore acceptable when undergoing neoadjuvant treatment in a prospective intergroup trial.

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