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Int J Surg. 2013;11(7):507-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2013.04.014. Epub 2013 May 6.

Cetuximab therapy in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer: the future frontier?

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Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Pancreatic Surgery, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, United Kingdom.



To review the outcomes following cetuximab therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.


Relevant articles were reviewed from the published literature using the Medline database. The search was performed using the keywords "colorectal cancer", "cetuximab", "liver metastases", "liver resection" and "hepatectomy".


Cetuximab was first used in the palliative setting and an increase in response rates were seen, however with no improvement in overall survival. Published data have observed that cetuximab may be beneficial as part of a down-staging programme. The addition of cetuximab to chemotherapy regimens in patients with KRAS wild-type colorectal cancer has been shown to increase the response rates and the number of patients being down-staged and offered potentially curative resection. The OPUS and CRYSTAL trials observed good response rates following the addition of cetuximab but low resection rates. The CELIM and POCHER studies reported higher resection rates due to better patient selection and study design. However, the majority of published studies tend to report minimal surgical data and lack short- and long-term outcomes.


The use of cetuximab to conventional chemotherapy regimens may improve the efficacy of down-staging programmes, leading to more patients being offered potentially curative resection.


Cetuximab; Colorectal cancer; Hepatectomy; Liver metastases

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