, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 1844-1851
Date: 18 Feb 2009

Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Does Not Predict Overall Survival for Patients With Synchronous Colorectal Hepatic Metastases

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We investigated the relation between response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and overall survival (OS) in patients with colorectal liver metastases (CLM).


It has previously been reported that patients with synchronous CLM whose disease progresses while receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy or who do not receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy experience worse survival than patients whose disease responds to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.


By means of a prospectively maintained surgical database, between 1995 and 2003, we identified 111 patients with a synchronous CLM who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy before hepatic resection. The disease of all 111 patients was deemed resectable, and patients underwent hepatic resection with curative intent.


The median OS after liver resection was 62 months, with a median follow-up of 63 months. Median OS was similar between the three study groups classified by response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (complete or partial response, 58 months; stable disease, 65 months; and disease progression, 61 months; = .98). By univariate analysis, carcinoembryonic antigen level after liver resection of <5 ng/dL, size of metastatic lesion of ≤5 cm, lymph node–negative primary tumor, and disease-negative margins were associated with improved survival. Patients in the disease progression group had more positive margins and metastases >5 cm in size than patients in the complete or partial response group and the stable disease group. Patients whose tumor progressed but who received postoperative hepatic arterial infusion had a trend toward improved survival compared with those who did not receive hepatic arterial infusion (70% vs. 50% at 3 years, permutation log rank test = .12).


Response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy did not correlate with OS even after controlling for margins, stage of primary tumor, and postoperative carcinoembryonic antigen level. Postoperative salvage treatment may have helped the survival of some patients.