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Ann Surg Oncol. 2011 Jun;18(6):1644-50. doi: 10.1245/s10434-010-1494-1. Epub 2011 Jan 5.

Evaluation of chemotherapy-associated liver injury in patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases using indocyanine green clearance testing.

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Department of General Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Systemic chemotherapy may render initially unresectable colorectal cancer liver metastases resectable. Histopathologic examinations of resected nontumoral liver tissue revealed chemotherapy-associated liver injuries, which was recognized to impair the function of the remnant liver. We therefore evaluated whether indocyanine green (ICG) plasma clearance helps to assess chemotherapy-induced liver damage.


Data of 101 liver resections performed between 2006 and 2008 for colorectal liver metastases were analyzed for this study. Eighteen patients had liver resection without preoperative treatment, whereas 83 patients underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy before surgery. ICG clearance was assessed by pulse densitometry before surgery.


Comparison of ICG retention clearances demonstrated that patients pretreated with systemic chemotherapy had a significantly lower plasma disappearance rate (ICG-PDR; 19.3 ± 5.9 vs. 23.1 ± 3.8%/min; P = 0.002) and a significantly elevated ICG retention rate at 15 min (7.9 ± 6.6 vs. 3.8 ± 1.9%; P < 0.001). The percentage of subjects with an abnormal ICG-PDR (≤18%/min) was significantly higher in the pretreated group (48.2% vs. 5.6%; P = 0.001). Patients with an ICG-PDR of ≤18 had a prolonged postoperative hospital stay and experienced four times more complications in their postoperative course.


ICG clearance helps to identify patients with impaired liver function after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and aids in the estimation of the postoperative risk of morbidity after liver resection for colorectal liver metastases.

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