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Clin Transl Oncol. 2011 Oct;13(10):721-7. doi: 10.1007/s12094-011-0722-x.

Multidisciplinary approach of colorectal liver metastases.

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Servicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital de Fuenlabrada, Madrid, Spain.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer death in Spain. Fifty percent of patients will develop colorectal liver metastases (CLM) during the course of the disease. Less than 20% of patients with CLM are initially resectable and for them 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) is about 20-25%, with a high recurrence rate. CLM is a heterogeneous disease. From a clinical point of view, four main groups can be differentiated: initially resectable, not optimally resectable, unresectable that could be resectable and unresectable that never will be likely to be resected. Treatment of CLM must be established, always, in a multidisciplinary team discussion with an analysis of prognostic factors and resectability. For patients with resectable CLM, the EORTC trial 364 demonstrated that chemotherapy plus surgery is better than surgery alone. Consequently most patients should be treated with perioperative chemotherapy based on oxaliplatin, and if resection has been done without chemotherapy, they should receive adjuvant chemotherapy after R0 resection. Based on oncological factors, the 5-year survival rate after resection of CLM ranges from 60% to only 14% with a poor score. If a patient has more than one of the poor prognostic factors he should probably be referred for preoperative (induction) chemotherapy. Only a minority of patients with CLM are amenable to surgery; therefore, efforts have been made to increase the percentage of patients who could be candidates for resection. Studies, mostly retrospective, have confirmed the ability of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (conversion chemotherapy) to render some metastases resectable. The regimens we must use depend on the KRAS mutational status and the toxicity profiles of drugs in the context of each patient. In k-ras mutated tumours we can use bevacizumab combined with standard chemotherapy or concomitant administration of the three active agents (FOLFOXIRI) in suitable patients. In k-ras wild-type patients, the combination of cetuximab and FOLFIRI-FOLFOX improved response rates and resection rate in phase III-II trials. With a lower level of evidence, panitumumab is an alternative combined with FOLFOX. Bevacizumab is also an alternative as it does not depend on KRAS status. Radiotherapy is becoming an alternative in selected patients, where surgery is not an alternative. For the majority of patients, who will never be resectable, the continuum of care with chemotherapy will be the paradigm for their management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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