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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Mar 10;29(8):1083-90. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.32.6132. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

High survival rate after two-stage resection of advanced colorectal liver metastases: response-based selection and complete resection define outcome.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Unit 444, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Prolonged survival after two-stage resection (TSR) of advanced colorectal liver metastases (CLM) may be the result of selection of best responders to chemotherapy. The impact of complete resection in this well-selected group is controversial.


Data on 890 patients undergoing resection and 879 patients who received only chemotherapy for CLM were collected prospectively. We used intent-to-treat analysis to evaluate the survival of patients who underwent TSR. Additionally, we evaluated a cohort of nonsurgically treated patients selected to mirror the TSR population: colorectal metastases with liver-only disease, objective response to chemotherapy, and alive 1 year after chemotherapy initiation.


Sixty-five patients underwent the first stage of TSR; 62 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria for the medical group. TSR patients had a mean of 6.7 ± 3.4 CLM with mean size of 4.5 ± 3.1 cm. Nonsurgical patients had a mean of 5.9 ± 2.9 CLM with mean size of 5.4 ± 3.4 cm (not significant). Forty-seven TSR patients (72%) completed the second stage. Progression between stages was the main cause of noncompletion of the second stage (61%). After 50 months median follow-up, the 5-year survival rate was 51% in the TSR group and 15% in the medical group (P = .005). In patients who underwent TSR, noncompletion of TSR and major postoperative complications were independently associated with worse survival.


TSR is associated with excellent outcome in patients with advanced CLM as a result of both selection by chemotherapy and complete resection of metastatic disease.

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