Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 2411–2421

Liver Resection for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in the Presence of Extrahepatic Disease

Controversies in the Management of Hepatic Colorectal Metastases

DOI: 10.1245/s10434-009-0493-6

Cite this article as:
Carpizo, D.R. & D’Angelica, M. Ann Surg Oncol (2009) 16: 2411. doi:10.1245/s10434-009-0493-6



Hepatic resection for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) with concomitant extrahepatic disease (EHD) is controversial. Earlier reports of the results of liver resection for metastatic CRC identified patients with EHD as a group with poor outcomes, suggesting that the presence of EHD was an absolute contraindication to resection. This has recently been challenged in several reports due to advances in systemic chemotherapy, surgical technique, and patient selection.


This review was restricted to published data in the English language identified by searches of MEDLINE and Pubmed databases as well as reference lists of recent review articles on subjects of surgery for metastatic colorectal cancer.


Five-year survival after resection is worse than patients with liver-only disease but approximates the survival rates seen in patients with resected liver-only metastases in the era prior to the use of modern chemotherapy. Recurrence occurs in the great majority of patients.


At this time, there appears to be a role for surgery in highly selected patients with a single site of EHD amenable to complete resection. Unlike patients with liver-only disease, however, the goals of surgery must not be viewed as potentially curative.

Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Surgical Oncology, The Cancer Institute of New JerseyRobert Wood-Johnson University Medical SchoolNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Hepatopancreatobiliary Service, Department of SurgeryMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA