Medline: 7878536

Surgery 117(3): 296-304, 1995.

Repeat liver resections from colorectal metastasis.

Fernandez-Trigo V, Shamsa F, Sugarbaker PH, et al.


A retrospective multiinstitutional study was performed to assess survival benefits of patients undergoing repeat liver resection for colorectal metastasis. An updated report is presented here.

The series comprised 170 patients from 20 different institutions around the world. Mean age of patients was 58 years (range, 28 to 84 years). The mean and median follow-up were 29 and 25 months, respectively.

Three- and 5-year overall survival rates were 45% and 32%, respectively. The Dukes' stage of the primary tumor showed a 34% 5-year survival rate for those patients with negative nodes and 30% if nodes were positive (p = 0.42). The disease-free interval between liver resections showed a better outcome for those who had undergone repeated liver resections less than 1 year from the first liver resection (42% versus 23% 5-year survival rates); the difference was not significant (p = 0.58). The number of metastases found and resected at second procedures did not show significant differences in survival and was probably due to selection criteria. Anatomic resections reached a better 5-year survival rate (39%) than wedge resections (21%). The difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.2). The presence of extrahepatic disease and residual liver tumor left behind when repeat liver resection was performed were the most important prognostic variables in survival. Patients with extrahepatic disease had 19% 5-year survival rate, whereas those without disease outside the liver had 36% 5-year survival rate (p = 0.09). Patients with complete resections and those with residual liver disease after repeat resections had 36% and 17% 5-year survival rates, respectively (p = 0.01). Presence of postoperative morbidity after second liver resections did not show a significant negative impact in survival (p = 0.70). Adjuvant therapies were not widely used after liver resections and did not seem to improve prognosis of patients who were treated (39% versus 29% 5-year survival rates, p = 0.9).

Repeat liver resections for colorectal metastasis is a justified approach because surgery remains the only potentially curative treatment. These procedures are relatively safe with low morbidity and mortality rates. Long-term survival (32%) can only be achieved in selected patients.

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Dr. G. Quade