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Treatment strategy for patients with colorectal cancer and synchronous irresectable liver metastases. BJS 2005; 92: 1155-1160.

Published: 21st July 2005

Authors: S. Benoist, K. Pautrat, E. Mitry, P. Rougier, C. Penna, B. Nordlinger et al.


The aim of this case‐matched study was to determine the best treatment strategy for patients with asymptomatic colorectal cancer and irresectable synchronous liver metastases.


Between 1997 and 2002, 27 patients with asymptomatic colorectal cancer and irresectable synchronous liver metastases were treated by chemotherapy without initial primary resection (chemotherapy group). These 27 patients were compared with 32 patients matched for age, sex, performance status, primary tumour location, number of liver metastases, nature of irresectable disease and type of chemotherapy, but who were treated initially by resection of primary tumour (resection group).


The 2‐year actuarial survival rate was 41 per cent in the chemotherapy group and 44 per cent in the resection group (P = 0·753). In the latter group, the mortality and morbidity rates for primary resection were 0 and 19 per cent (six of 32 patients) respectively. In the chemotherapy group, intestinal obstruction related to the primary tumour occurred in four of 27 patients. The mean overall hospital stay was 11 days in the chemotherapy group and 22 days in the resection group (P = 0·003).


Systemic chemotherapy without resection of the bowel cancer is the option of choice because, for most patients, it is associated with a shorter hospital stay and avoids surgery without a detrimental effect on survival. Copyright © 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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