Medline: 1866690

Surgery 110(1): 13-29, 1991.

Indicators of prognosis after hepatic resection for colorectal secondaries.

Scheele J, Stangl R, Altendorf-Hofmann A, et al.


From 1960 to 1988, 266 patients underwent resection of colorectal secondaries to the liver with curative intent. All patients were followed until April 1, 1990, or death, with a median follow-up time of 52 months. Nine patients with minimal macroscopic residual disease and 38 patients with all gross tumor removed but positive margins showed a poor prognosis with a median survival time of 13.3 months, the longest being 42 months. Of the 219 patients having potentially curative resection, 12 patients died postoperatively (5.5%). Actuarial 5, 10 and 20-year survival for the remaining 207 patients was 39%, 28%, and 18%, respectively. At April 1, 1990, 77 patients were alive with no evidence of disease for up to 24 years, and 12 patients had died without recurrence. The following factors were associated with less favorable crude survival: presence and extent of mesenteric lymph node involvement (p = 0.0003), grade III/IV primary tumor (p = 0.035), synchronous diagnosis of metastases (p = 0.017), satellite metastases (p = 0.0003), limited resection margins (p = 0.019), and nonanatomic procedures (p = 0.013). With respect to disease-free survival, grading of the primary (p = 0.055) and the extent of clear margins (p = 0.019) failed to achieve statistical significance. Two other criteria are commonly recommended as absolute contraindications to hepatic resection: extrahepatic disease and the presence of four or more independent metastases. A radical excision of all detectable disease may rarely be possible in these circumstances. Nevertheless, within the curative settings, no significant predictive value regarding either overall or disease-free survival was found in this series. Three corresponding "high risk" patients are alive without disease at 5 to 11 years from hepatic resection. These patients with more advanced intrahepatic or concomitant limited extrahepatic disease require a particularly thorough diagnostic work up. As no superior therapeutic alternative is currently available, an aggressive surgical approach may occasionally be justified, and may, in a small portion, result in definite tumor control.

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