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In the United States, there are an estimated 5000 to 6000 new patients annually who might be candidates for major hepatic resection to treat their recurrent colon cancer. Since 1971, the program reported here has evaluated various factors that might influence the curative potential of such an approach. Sixty-five patients had a major hepatic resection from March 1971 through May 1982. Using a stepwise proportional hazard analysis, all data that had been stored in CLINFO (a data analysis system by Bolt, Beranek and Newman; Boston, MA) were evaluated for the effect of multiple variables on the survival of patients with resected hepatic metastases. Twenty-seven had a right hepatic lobectomy; 14 had extended right hepatectomy with one having the caudate lobe also removed; ten had left lobectomy, nine had left lateral segmentectomy; and five had a major hepatic resection with three-dimensional wedge excision of a metastatic deposit in the contralateral lobe. The 30-day operative mortality rate was 7% (4/58) for patients undergoing the standard major hepatic resection. It was 14% for seven patients in whom the isolation-hypothermic perfusion technique was used early in the series. In ten patients, wedge excision only was required to remove the tumor. Stage I disease is defined as tumor confined to the resected portion of the liver without invasion of major intrahepatic vessels or bile ducts. Stage II disease is regional spread and Stage III disease is metastasis to lymph nodes or extraregional sites. The 3-year survival estimate was 66% for the 37 patients with Stage I disease. The 3-year survival estimate for 13 patients with Stage II disease was 58%. Five of the nine patients with Stage III disease are presently alive from 3 to 23 months; one of the other four died at 35 months of disease. The stage of liver disease was the most significant variable in this survival analysis (p = 0.02); Dukes' classification of colorectal primary was significant at p < 0.05. Those factors found not to be significant determinants of survival were: number of metastatic hepatic deposits, site of colon primary, age, sex, preoperative liver function tests, and CEA.