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Cancer. 2011 Oct 1;117(19):4484-92. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26036. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Is resection of colorectal liver metastases after a second-line chemotherapy regimen justified?

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



Patient outcomes following resection of colorectal liver metastases (CLM) after second-line chemotherapy regimen is unknown.


From August 1998 to June 2009, data from 1099 patients with CLM were collected prospectively. We retrospectively analyzed outcomes of patients who underwent resection of CLM after second-line (2 or more) chemotherapy regimens.


Sixty patients underwent resection of CLM after 2 or more chemotherapy regimens. Patients had advanced CLM (mean number of CLM ± standard deviation, 4 ± 3.5; mean maximum size of CLM, 5 ± 3.2 cm) and had received 17 ± 8 cycles of preoperative chemotherapy. In 54 (90%) patients, the switch from the first regimen to another regimen was motivated by tumor progression or suboptimal radiographic response. All patients received irinotecan or oxaliplatin, and the majority (42/60 [70%]) received a monoclonal antibody (bevacizumab or cetuximab) as part of the last preoperative regimen. Postoperative morbidity and mortality rates were 33% and 3%, respectively. At a median follow-up of 32 months, 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year overall survival rates were 83%, 41%, and 22%, respectively. Median chemotherapy-free survival after resection or completion of additional chemotherapy administered after resection was 9 months (95% confidence interval, 4-14 months). Synchronous (vs metachronous) CLM and minor (vs major) pathologic response were independently associated with worse survival.


Resection of CLM after a second-line chemotherapy regimen was found to be safe and was associated with a modest hope for definitive cure. This approach represents a viable option in patients with advanced CLM.

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