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Oncology (Williston Park). 2012 Mar;26(3):266-75.

Can metastatic colorectal cancer be cured?

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Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232, USA.


Significant advances have been made in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Development of the targeted biologic agents and their integration with cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens has led to improvements in clinical efficacy. Despite these gains, the overall impact of these combination regimens in mCRC therapy has been relatively modest. While 2-year survival has improved, substantive gains have yet to be made in 5-year survival. However, a small subset of patients can be cured of their metastatic disease, with prolonged 5- and 10-year overall survival. This select group of patients includes those with metastatic disease limited to the liver or other organ-specific sites, as these patients are able to undergo surgical resection at the time of diagnosis or following conversion therapy with the appropriate integration of chemotherapy. A multimodality team-based approach involving medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiologists, and other healthcare providers is absolutely critical for the success of this therapeutic approach. This article reviews the main issues that must be considered from the surgical oncology and medical oncology perspectives, respectively.

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