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Am J Clin Oncol. 2012 Feb;35(1):77-80. doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e3181fe4444.

Viewing metastatic colorectal cancer as a curable chronic disease.

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UNSW Department of Surgery, Cancer Care Centre, St George Hospital, Kogarah, Sydney, Australia.


Improved survival of colorectal cancer has been made over the last 3 decades; reasons may be attributed to early detection through screening, and better treatment options. Advancements in modern systemic chemotherapy for colorectal cancer include oxaliplatin-based and irinotecan-based combination and the introduction of biological agents such as bevacizumab and cetuximab. Systemic therapies need to be used in patients with high risk stage II and stage III colorectal cancer and in patients with metastatic disease. Evidence for liver resection and ablation, pulmonary metastasectomy and/or radiofrequency ablation, and cytoreductive surgery combined with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy for metastasis to sites of the liver, lung, and peritoneum respectively are well established. The biggest challenge is to select the right patients for metastasectomy and to pursue metastatic disease as a chronic disease to ensure appropriate personalized therapy, pursue second-line therapies or repeat surgeries, and minimize toxicities of therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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