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Tumori. 1998 May-Jun;84(3):281-8.

New trends in the surgical treatment of colorectal cancer liver metastases.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Colorectal cancer is one of the most common solid tumors affecting people around the world. A significant proportion of patients with colorectal cancer will develop or will present with liver metastases. In some of these patients, the liver is the only site of metastatic disease. Thus, surgical treatment approaches are an appropriate and important treatment option in patients with liver-only colorectal cancer metastases. Resection of colorectal cancer liver metastases can produce long-term survival in selected patients, but the efficacy of liver resection as a solitary treatment is limited by two factors. First, a minority of patients with liver metastases have resectable disease. Second, the majority of patients who undergo successful liver resection for colorectal cancer metastases develop recurrent disease in the liver, extrahepatic sites, or both. In this paper, in addition to the results of liver resection for colorectal cancer metastases, we will review the results of cryoablation, heat ablation, and hepatic arterial chemotherapy using a surgically implanted pump. Each of these surgical treatment modalities can produce long-term survival in a subset of patients with liver-only colorectal cancer metastases, whereas systemic chemotherapy used alone rarely results in long-term survival in these patients. While surgical treatments provide the best chance for long-term survival or, in some cases, the best palliation in patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases, it is clear that further improvements in patient outcome will require multimodality therapy regimens.

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