Outcome after resection of hepatic and pulmonary metastases of colorectal cancer

Hannes Neeff, Wolfram Hörth, Frank Makowiec, Eva Fischer, Andreas Imdahl, Ulrich T Hopt, Bernward Passlick
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2009, 13 (10): 1813-20

INTRODUCTION: Multimodal therapies (especially surgery of metastases and "aggressive" chemotherapy) in patients with metastases of colorectal cancers (CRC) are increasingly performed and may provide long-term survival in selected patients with more than one location of metastases. In the current literature, there are only few studies with relatively low patient numbers reporting on the outcome after resection of both hepatic and pulmonary metastases of CRC. We therefore evaluated survival of patients who underwent sequential resection of hepatic and pulmonary metastases under potentially curative intention.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: From 1987 until 2006, 44 patients (32% female; median age, 58 years) with hepatic and pulmonary CRC metastases underwent resections at both metastatic sites. The primary CRCs were in 50% rectal and in 50% colonic carcinomas (61% node positive, all with free resection margins). Metastases occurred synchronously (regarding primary CRC) in 32% of the patients. In 86%, liver resection was performed prior to pulmonary resection. The first resection of metastases was performed a median of 16 months after resection of the primary CRC; the median interval between the first and the second resection of metastases was 7 months. Forty-seven percent of the patients also underwent at least a third metastasectomy. During resection of the first and second site of metastases, free margins were achieved in 98% and 95%, respectively. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods.

RESULTS: The 5-year survival rates (SV) were 64% after initial surgery of CRC, 42% after the first resection of metastases, and 27% after the last metastasectomy. Patients with synchronous metastases had a 5-year SV after first metastasectomy of 43% and in patients with metachronous metastases of 41% (n.s.). The location of the primary tumor (20% 5-year SV in rectal vs. 57% in colonic cancer; p < 0.02) and the lung as primary site of metastatic disease (5-year SV 0% vs. 60% in patients with primarily hepatic metastases only; p < 0.001) significantly influenced survival in univariate analysis. Patients with rectal cancer had a significantly higher frequency of the lung as first metastatic site (46%) compared to patients with colonic cancer (14%; p < 0.03). Multivariate survival analysis revealed the lung as first metastatic site and as the sole significant independent factor for the outcome (p < 0.001; relative risk vs. liver first metastases 4.7).

CONCLUSION: In selected patients with metastasized CRC resection of both hepatic and pulmonary metastases may improve survival rates or even provide long-term survival. Patients with lung as the first site of metastatic disease (either lung only or in combination with hepatic metastases) have a significantly worse outcome than patients with metastases primarily confined to the liver.


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