Locoregional therapy for liver metastases from colorectal cancer: The possibilities of intraarterial chemotherapy, and new hepatic-directed modalities

G. Fiorentini, D. B. Poddie, M. Cantore, P. Giovanis, S. Guadagni, U. De Giorgi, A. Cariello, C. Dazzi, D. Turci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liver metastasis of colorectal cancer is a life-threatening prognostic factor. Hepatic resection, when possible, is the best therapeutic modality, although the overall survival rate is still low (30%). The diagnosis has been carried out by clinical examination, abnormal alkaline phosphatase, lactic acid dehydrogenase and tumor markers, abdominal liver echography and computed tomography scan. Angiography and intraoperative echography are useful for resection. The number of hepatic metastases and the surgical margin are probably the most significant prognostic factors. Colorectal cancer may spread predominantly to the liver making regional treatment strategies viable options. Subtotal hepatic resections and segmentectomies are potentially curable procedures for single or small numbers of hepatic metastases without other sites of disease. However, there have been no prospective randomized trials comparing patients with unresected liver metastases and resected metastases. Regional chemotherapy with floxuridine seems useful combined with hepatic resection or as palliative therapy. Gastric ulcer and biliary sclerosis are the main related toxicities. Patients with localized, unresectable hepatic metastases or concomitant bad medical condition may be candidates for radiation, percutaneous ethanol injection, cryosurgery, radiofrequency, hypoxic flow-stop perfusions with bioreductive alkilating agents, hepatic arterial ligation, embolization and chemoembolization. These new hepatic-directed modalities of treatment are being investigated and may offer new approaches to providing palliation and prolonging survival. This review reports the possibilities of intraarterial chemotherapy and other novel hepatic directed approaches to the treatment of liver metastases from this common disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Chemoembolization
  • Cryosurgery
  • Ethanol injection
  • Hypoxic flow-stop perfusion
  • Hypoxic isolated liver perfusion
  • Intraarterial chemotherapy
  • Liver metastases from colorectal cancer
  • Liver surgery
  • Radiation
  • Radiofrequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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