The oncosurgery approach to managing liver metastases from colorectal cancer: A multidisciplinary international consensus

René Adam, Aimery De Gramont, Joan Figueras, Ashley Guthrie, Norihiro Kokudo, Francis Kunstlinger, Evelyne Loyer, Graeme Poston, Philippe Rougier, Laura Rubbia-Brandt, Alberto Sobrero, Josep Tabernero, Catherine Teh, Eric Van Cutsem, Jean Nicolas Vauthey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An international panel of multidisciplinary experts convened to develop recommendations for the management of patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim was to address the main issues facing the CRC hepatobiliary multidisciplinary team (MDT) when managing such patients and to standardize the treatment patients receive in different centers. Based on current evidence, the group agreed on a number of issues including the following: (a) the primary aim of treatment is achieving a long disease-free survival (DFS) interval following resection; (b) assessment of resectability should be performed with high-quality cross-sectional imaging, staging the liver with magnetic resonance imaging and/or abdominal computed tomography (CT), depending on local expertise, staging extrahepatic disease with thoracic and pelvic CT, and, in selected cases, fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with ultrasound (preferably contrastenhanced ultrasound) for intraoperative staging; (c) optimal first-line chemotherapy-doublet or triplet chemotherapy regimens combined with targeted therapy-is advisable in potentially resectable patients; (d) in this situation, at least four courses of first-line chemotherapy should be given, with assessment of tumor response every 2 months; (e) response assessed by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (conventional chemotherapy) or nonsize-based morphological changes (antiangiogenic agents) is clearly correlated with outcome; no imaging technique is currently able to accurately diagnose complete pathological response but high-quality imaging is crucial for patient management; (f) the duration of chemotherapy should be as short as possible and resection achieved as soon as technically possible in the absence of tumor progression; (g) the number of metastases or patient age should not be an absolute contraindication to surgery combined with chemotherapy; (h) for synchronous metastases, it is not advisable to undertake major hepatic surgery during surgery for removal of the primary CRC; the reverse surgical approach (liver first) produces as good an outcome as the conventional approach in selected cases; (i) for patients with resectable liver metastases from CRC, perioperative chemotherapy may be associated with a modestly better DFS outcome; and (j) whether initially resectable or unresectable, cure or at least a long survival duration is possible after complete resection of the metastases, and MDT treatment is essential for improving clinical and survival outcomes. The group proposed a new system to classify initial unresectability based on technical and oncological contraindications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1239
Number of pages15
JournalThe oncologist
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Biochemotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Hepatectomy
  • Hepatobiliary multidisciplinary teams
  • Imaging
  • Liver metastases
  • Resection
  • Targeted treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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