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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Up-front Hepatic Resection for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Results in Favorable Long-term Survival

Sulaiman Nanji MD, PhD, Sean Cleary MD, MSc, Paul Ryan MD, Maha Guindi MD, Subani Selvarajah MD, Paul Grieg MD, Ian McGilvary MD, PhD, Bryce Taylor MD, Alice Wei MD, MSc, Carol-Anne Moulton MD, PhD, Steven Gallinger MD, MSc
Hepatobiliary Tumors
Volume 20, Issue 1 / January , 2013



Hepatic metastasis from colorectal cancer (CRC) is best managed with a multimodal approach; however, the optimal timing of liver resection in relation to administration of perioperative chemotherapy remains unclear. Our strategy has been to offer up-front liver resection for patients with resectable hepatic metastases, followed by post–liver resection chemotherapy. We report the outcomes of patients based on this surgical approach.


A retrospective review of all patients undergoing liver resection for CRC metastases over a 5-year period (2002–2007) was performed. Associations between clinicopathologic factors and survival were evaluated by the Cox proportional hazard method.


A total of 320 patients underwent 336 liver resections. Median follow-up was 40 (range 8–80) months. The majority (n = 195, 60.9 %) had metachronous disease, and most patients (n = 286, 85 %) had a major hepatectomy (>3 segments). Thirty-six patients (11 %) received preoperative chemotherapy, predominantly for downstaging unresectable disease. Ninety-day mortality was 2.1 %, and perioperative morbidity occurred in 68 patients (20.2 %). Actual disease-free survival at 3 and 5 years was 46.2 % and 42 %, respectively. Actual overall survival (OS) at 3 and 5 years was 63.7 % and 55 %, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified four factors that were independently associated with differences in OS (hazard ratio; 95 % confidence interval): size of metastasis >6 cm (2.2; 1.3–3.5), positive lymph node status of the primary CRC (N1 (2.0; 1.0–3.8), N2 (2.4; 1.2–4.9)), synchronous disease (2.1; 1.3–3.5), and treatment with chemotherapy after liver resection (0.42; 0.23–0.75).


Up-front surgery for patients with resectable CRC liver metastases, followed by chemotherapy, can lead to favorable OS.

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