Surveillance-detected hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer had a survival advantage in seven-year follow-up

P. W. Child, T. D. Yan, D. S. Perera, D. L. Morris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Colorectal cancer is a common cause of cancer-related death. The liver is the most common site of distant metastases and the most amenable to potentially curative surgery. The aim of this study was to determine whether hepatic metastases detected by surveillance following colonic resection were associated with higher resectability rates and to determine whether there was any impact on survival rates. METHODS: A retrospective study of 211 patients who presented to the liver unit between February 1990 and July 1996 with hepatic metastases following colonic resection for adenocarcinoma was performed. Patients were divided into two groups: Group A (n = 154), hepatic metastases diagnosed by carcinoembryonic antigen or by radiology; and Group B (n = 57), patients with symptomatic presentation. RESULTS: Potentially curative operations were possible in 51.3 percent (79/154) of Group A patients and 28.1 percent (16/57) of Group B patients (P = 0.0043, chi-squared test). In Groups A and B, 24 percent (37/154) and 43.9 percent (25/57) of patients, respectively, were inoperable. The three-year and five-year survival rates after detection of liver metastases were 26.8 percent (41/153) in Group A and 12.5 percent (7/56) in Group B, and 5.9 percent (9/153) in Group A and 8.9 percent (5/56) in Group B, respectively. Log-rank analysis resulted in P = 0.05, Breslow test in P = 0.01. CONCLUSION: Our study shows that patients with hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer detected by follow-up were significantly more likely to have a potentially curative operation. Our medium-term survival data show a statistically significant survival benefit in patients with surveillance- detected metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-748
Number of pages5
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinoembryonic antigen
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Hepatic metastases
  • Surveillance


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