Article Abstract

Liver-directed therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer

Authors: Margaret E. Clark, Richard R. Smith


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major health concern in the United States (US) with over 140,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012. The most common site for CRC metastases is the liver. Hepatic resection is the treatment of choice for colorectal liver metastases (CLM), with a 5-year survival rate ranging from 35% to 58%. Unfortunately, only about 20% of patients are eligible for resection. There are a number of options for extending resection to more advanced patients including systemic chemotherapy, portal vein embolization (PVE), two stage hepatectomy, ablation and hepatic artery infusion (HAI). There are few phase III trials comparing these treatment modalities, and choosing the right treatment is patient dependent. Treating hepatic metastases requires a multidisciplinary approach and knowledge of all treatment options as there continues to be advances in management of CLM. If a patient can undergo a treatment modality in order to increase their potential for future resection this should be the primary goal. If the patient is still deemed unresectable then treatments that lengthen disease-free and overall-survival should be pursued. These include chemotherapy, ablation, HAI, chemoembolization, radioembolization (RE) and stereotactic radiotherapy.