Current treatment for liver metastases from colorectal cancer

Lian-Xin Liu, Wei-Hui Zhang, Hong-Chi Jiang

The liver is the commonest site of distant metastasis of
colorectal cancer and nearly half of the patients with
colorectal cancer ultimately develop liver involved during
the course of their diseases. Surgery is the only therapy
that offers the possibility of cure for patients with hepatic
metastatic diseases. Five-year survival rates after resection
of all detectable liver metastases can be up to 40 %.
Unfortunately, only 25 % of patients with colorectal liver
metastases are candidates for liver resection, while the others
are not amenable to surgical resection. Regional therapies
such as radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy may be
offered to patients with isolated unresectable metastases
but no extrahepatic diseases. Hepatic artery catheter
chemotherapy and chemoembolization and portal vein
embolization are often used for the patients with extensive
liver metastases but without extrahepatic diseases, which
are not suitable for regional ablation. For the patients with
metastatic colorectal cancer beyond the liver, systemic
chemotherapy is a more appropriate choice. Immunotherapy
is also a good option when other therapies are used in
combination to enhance the efficacy. Selective internal
radiation therapy is a new radiation method which can be
used in patients given other routine therapies without effects.
Liu LX, Zhang WH, Jiang HC. Current treatment for liver
metastases from colorectal cancer. World J Gastroenterol 2003;
9(2): 193-200


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