, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 821-839
Date: 10 Oct 2012

Meeting the biologic challenge of colorectal metastases

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An overview of colorectal cancer discussed (Philip Paty) the good outcome after primary management with local control in 90–95 % of colon and 85 % in rectal cancer patients with major progression to metastases and to death related to hematogenous dissemination. The major disease pathways include the APC, aneuploid pathway involving mutations of P53, KRAS, SMAD 4, or the CMP/MSI pathway, mismatched repair defect as characterized by Lynch syndrome, the major hereditary form which may also have KRAS and P53 mutations. The common sporadic colorectal cancers are MS1 high, with many patients having BRAF and KRAS mutations. The sentinel node biopsy in colorectal cancer surgery may provide more definitive staging and perhaps modification of the extent of resection with better outcome as suggested by Dr. Saha. The identification of sentinel lymph nodes outside of the planned bowel resection may increase the resection biologically indicated by the sentinel lymph node location leading to better outcome. In a small study by Dr. Saha, the operation was enhanced in 21 % by extending the length of bowel resection, which increased node recovery to 18.5 nodes versus 12 nodes with the more conventional resection, increasing nodal recovery, and positivity to 60 % with reduction to five year recurrence rate to 9 % versus 27 % with the conventional resection. A new (Swiss) technique for pathologic node examination, the OSNA (the One Step Nucleic Acid diagnostic system), was presented which demonstrated increased detection of micro-metastases in a focused pathology study of 22 patients (Zuber) to 11 out of 15 patients versus the 7 micro-metastases identified by the standard single slide per node, and compared to 14 out of 15 with an intensive multi-slide technique. This suggests value in pursuing OSNA study by other centers with relevant clinical trials to establish its true value. An analysis of liver resection for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) emphasized the value of 10-year follow-up (DeAngelica). The 10-year survival of 102 patients among 612 patients was 17 % (Memorial Sloan Kettering data). At the five-year point 99 of 102 survivors were NED and 86 have been free of disease since the resection. The usual five-year figure after hepatic resection reveals that one-third of five-year survivors die from recurrence of distant disease suggesting the value of longer term follow-up in these patients. An additional question reviewed related to the role of neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy (with response rates in the 50 % range) to produce down staging of the hepatic metastases and allow one to retrieve these patients with possible residual disease. In a series of 116 patients who had hepatic resection of CRC metastases in presence of regional node metastases, post neoadjuvant chemotherapy (normally not candidates for resection) these patients were demonstrated to have a 95 % recurrence at median time of 9 months. This raises a cautionary note to the literature report of five-year survivals in the 20–30 % range for hepatic metastases in presence of extra hepatic disease. Such may reflect patient selection rather than a true measure of the biology of disease, and warrant clinical trial evaluation. Lastly, regional therapy and overall systemic therapy were addressed by Dr. Kemeny. The CALGB study of hepatic artery infusion (HAI) with FUDR, dexamethasone versus 5FU leucovorin showed an overall survival of 24.4 months with HAI versus 20 months with systemic therapy (P = 0.0034). An adjuvant trial of HAI at MSK in 156 patients showed an overall survival benefit at 2 year and recent long term 10yr follow-up showing a significant overall survival of 41 % with HAI versus 27 % with systemic therapy (5FU leucovorin). In the neoadjuvant Nordlinger trial for hepatic metastases, there was a significant outcome differences—the preoperative therapy group had 9.2 % increase of progression free survival versus the surgery alone group which suggests the value of combining neoadjuvant surgery in good risk liver resection candidates. Conclude the final lesson from this well presented mini symposium confirms the need for continued evaluation of the numerous discussion points by clinical trial.