Colorectal hepatic metastases: Resection, local ablation, and hepatic artery infusion pump are associated with prolonged survival

Academic Article


  • Background: Treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer to the liver is not uniform. We describe the management of metastatic colorectal cancer of the liver at a single institution during a 10-year period. Methods: From January 1, 1990, through December 31, 1999, 174 patients were identified from the tumor registry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a diagnosis of metastatic colorectal cancer to the liver. Patient, tumor, laboratory, operative, and adjuvant therapy factors were analyzed, with overall survival as the endpoint. Log-rank tests were used for univariate analysis. Cox-proportional hazards model for multivariate analysis, and Kaplan-Meier curves were used for graphical representation of survival. Significance was defined as P<.05. Results: Median age was 60 years (age range, 18-92 years). Seventy-nine percent of patients had synchronous liver metastases at the time of diagnosis of the primary colorectal tumor. The primary tumor was in the colon and rectum 75% and 25% of the time, respectively. Of the 89 patients who underwent operation, 73 received definitive surgical treatment for their liver metastases. Fifty-two patients underwent lobectomy or wedge resection, 5 underwent cryotherapy, and 16 had a hepatic artery infusion pump (HAIP) inserted. Median follow-up duration of surgically treated patients was 26 months. Operative mortality was 1.3%. The 3-year actuarial survivals for patients who underwent resection, HAIP, or those with unresectable disease were 70 months, 32 months, and 3 months, respectively (P<.001). By multivariate analysis, surgical intervention, a carcinoembryonic antigen level less than 200 μg/L, or a low T stage of the primary tumor were associated with prolongation of survival. Conclusions: Surgical resection should be attempted for hepatic colorectal metastases, as this is associated with prolonged overall survival. Hepatic artery infusion pump insertion seems to prolong overall survival for those with unresectable hepatic metastases, but it is not equal to resection. Aggressive surgical management of patients with hepatic colorectal metastases is safe, may prolong overall survival, and therefore should be considered in all patients with metastases confined to the liver.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 12787957
  • Author List

  • Heslin MJ; Medina-Franco H; Parker M; Vickers SM; Aldrete J; Urist MM
  • Start Page

  • 318
  • End Page

  • 323
  • Volume

  • 136
  • Issue

  • 3