Background: Management of patients with T3/4 and/or N+ mid/low rectal cancer with synchronous liver metastases is not codified. The aim of this study was to analyze outcomes of our approach which consists of neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy, according to liver disease extension, followed by simultaneous rectal and liver resection. Methods: Between 2000 and 2009, 354 patients underwent hepatectomy for synchronous metastases. Thirty-six consecutive patients who underwent rectal and liver resection for metastatic T3/4 and/or N+ mid/low rectal cancer were analyzed. Results: Liver metastases were multiple in 27 patients, bilobar in 22, and >5 cm in six. Up-front treatment was chemotherapy in 15 patients, chemoradiotherapy in seven, chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy in six, and surgery in eight (five symptomatic tumors). After chemotherapy alone (median number of cycles = 6), primary tumor response was observed in 11 patients (three complete responses). After chemoradiotherapy, only one patient had liver disease progression. Eighty-nine percent of patients underwent simultaneous rectal and hepatic resection. Mortality and morbidity rates were 2.8% (one pulmonary embolism) and 36%, respectively. After a mean follow-up of 39 months, 5-year overall and disease-free survival were 59.3 and 39.6%, respectively. Twenty-one patients had recurrence, including three pelvic recurrences (8.3%). No pelvic recurrence occurred among patients who correctly completed treatment strategy. All patients who received neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy were alive and disease-free; 5-year overall and disease-free survival of patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy were 59.3 and 25%, respectively. Conclusions: For patients with metastatic T3/4 and/or N+ mid/low rectal cancer, the present strategy was safe and effective. Good disease control was achieved by neoadjuvant treatments, low morbidity rates were associated with simultaneous resection, and excellent long-term outcomes with low local relapse rate were obtained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas