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Ann Surg Oncol. 2009 Nov;16(11):3064-9. doi: 10.1245/s10434-009-0693-0.

Should hepatic metastatic colorectal cancer patients with extrahepatic disease undergo liver resection/ablation?

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Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.



Surgical therapy has been proven to be the mainstay of treatment for hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer (CRM) in the appropriate patient. Previous contraindications were patients with extrahepatic disease (EHD) do not benefit from liver resection or ablation. We hypothesized that the survival of patients with EHD who receive aggressive multimodality care would be the same as those without EHD.


A review of our 1305 patient prospective hepato-pancreatico-biliary database from August 1995 to April 2008 identified 383 patients with surgical management of metastatic CRM to the liver.


A total of 39 patients with limited EHD underwent liver resection/ablation vs 344 patients without EHD. There were no significant differences in hepatic disease burden (mean clinical risk score of 2.3 and 2.1 in patients with and without EHD, P=.19, and median number of hepatic metastases of 2 in each group, P=.88) or size of the largest lesion (mean 4.6 vs 4.5 cm with and without EHD, P=.84). EHD consisted of lung metastases in 33%, nodal metastases in 21%, peritoneal in 15%, unknown in 15%, and other in 15%. There was no difference in patients with and without EHD undergoing surgical with resection only in 41% vs 48%, ablation only in 31% vs 30%, and combined resection and ablation in 28% vs 22% (P=.61). Overall survival in patients with EHD was not significantly different (median survival 24 vs 33 months, P=.06).


A thorough understanding of the biology of disease and appropriate multimodality care can lead to improved survival in patients with EHD, when compared with chemotherapy alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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