Surgical Therapy for Colorectal Metastases to the Liver

  • Timothy M. Pawlik
  • Michael A. Choti
Review Article


Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the West and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Approximately 35 to 55% of patients with colorectal cancer develop hepatic metastases during the course of their disease. Surgical resection of colorectal liver metastases represents the only chance at potential cure, and long-term survival can be achieved in 35 to 58% of patients after resection. The goal of hepatic resection should be to resect all metastases with negative histologic margins while preserving sufficient functional hepatic parenchyma. In patients with extensive metastatic disease who would otherwise be unresectable, ablative approaches can be used instead of or combined with hepatic resection. The use of portal vein embolization and preoperative chemotherapy may also expand the population of patients who are candidates for surgical treatment. Despite these advances, many patients still experience a recurrence after hepatic resection. More active systemic chemotherapy agents are now available and are being increasingly employed as adjuvant therapy either before or after surgery. Modern treatment of colorectal liver metastasis requires a multidisciplinary approach in an effort to increase the number of patients who may benefit from surgical treatment of colorectal cancer liver metastasis.


Colorectal metastasis Liver Surgery Radiofrequency ablation Chemotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of SurgeryThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryJohns Hopkins HospitalBaltimoreUSA

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