Purpose. The aims of this study were to assess the risk of early recurrence after liver resection for colorectal metastases (CRLM) and its prognostic value; identify early recurrence predictive factors; clarify the effect of perioperative chemotherapy on its occurrence; and elucidate the best early recurrence management. Methods. Patients of the LiverMetSurvey registry who underwent complete liver resection (R0/R1) between 1998 and 2009 were reviewed. Early recurrence was defined as any recurrence that occurred within 6 months after resection. Results. A total of 6,025 patients were included; 2,734 (45.4 %) had recurrence, including 639 (10.6 %) early recurrences. Early recurrence was mainly hepatic (59.5 vs. 54.4 % for late recurrences; p = 0.023). Independent risk factors of early recurrence were: T3-4 primary tumor (p = 0.0002); synchronous CRLM (p = 0.0001); >3 CRLM (p <0.0001); 0-mm margin liver resection (p = 0.003); and associated intraoperative radiofrequency ablation (p = 0.0005). Response to preoperative chemotherapy (complete/partial) and administration of adjuvant chemotherapy reduced early recurrence risk (p = 0.003 and p <0.0001, respectively). Intraoperative ultrasonography reduced hepatic early recurrence rate (p = 0.025). Early recurrence negatively affected prognosis: 5-year survival 26.9 versus 49.4 % for the late recurrence group (p <0.0001, median follow-up 34.4 months). Overall, 234 (36.6 %) patients with early recurrence underwent re-resection. These patients had survival rates higher than non-re-resected patients (5-year survival 47.2 vs. 8.9 %; p <0.0001) and similar to re-resected patients for late recurrence (48.7 %). Chemotherapy before early recurrence resection improved later survival (5-year survival 61.5 vs. 43.7 %; p = 0.028). Conclusions. Early recurrence risk is enhanced for extensive disease after poor preoperative disease control and inadequate surgical treatment, but is reduced after adjuvant chemotherapy. Although early recurrence negatively affects prognosis, re-resection may restore better survival. Chemotherapy before early recurrence resection is advocated.
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