Effect of Surgical Margin Status on Survival and Site of Recurrence After Hepatic Resection for Colorectal Metastases

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the influence of surgical margin status on survival and site of recurrence in patients treated with hepatic resection for colorectal metastases.

Methods:

Using a multicenter database, 557 patients who underwent hepatic resection for colorectal metastases were identified. Demographics, operative data, pathologic margin status, site of recurrence (margin, other intrahepatic site, extrahepatic), and long-term survival data were collected and analyzed.

Results:

On final pathologic analysis, margin status was positive in 45 patients, and negative by 1 to 4 mm in 129, 5 to 9 mm in 85, and ≥1 cm in 298. At a median follow-up of 29 months, the 1-, 3-, and 5-year actuarial survival rates were 97%, 74%, and 58%; median survival was 74 months. Tumor size ≥5 cm, >3 tumor nodules, and carcinoembryonic antigen level >200 ng/mL predicted poor survival (all P < 0.05). Median survival was 49 months in patients with positive margins and not yet reached in patients with negative margins (P = 0.01). After hepatic resection, 225 (40.4%) patients had recurrence: 21 at the surgical margin, 56 at another intrahepatic site, 82 at an extrahepatic site, and 66 at both intrahepatic and extrahepatic sites. Patients with negative margins of 1 to 4 mm, 5 to 9 mm, and ≥1 cm had similar overall recurrence rates (P > 0.05). Patients with positive margins were more likely to have surgical margin recurrence (P = 0.003). Adverse preoperative biologic factors including tumor number greater than 3 (P = 0.01) and a preoperative CEA level greater than 200 ng/mL (P = 0.04) were associated with an increased risk of positive surgical margin.

Conclusions:

A positive margin after resection of hepatic colorectal metastases is associated with adverse biologic factors and increased risk of surgical-margin recurrence. The width of a negative surgical margin does not affect survival, recurrence risk, or site of recurrence. A predicted margin of <1 cm after resection of hepatic colorectal metastases should not be used as an exclusion criterion for resection.

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