Adequate preoperative staging rarely leads to a change of intraoperative strategy in patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer liver metastases

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Background.Diagnostic tools used prior to hepatic surgery have significantly advanced during the last decade. We investigated the value of preoperative staging on detection of additional resectable hepatic lesions in metastatic colorectal cancer patients.Methods.One hundred ninety-four consecutive resections for colorectal liver metastases between January 2002 and December 2005 were prospectively analyzed. Data on imaging (multidetector computed tomography [MDCT] and magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) were compared to intraoperative findings by intraoperative sonography and bimanual palpation together with histopathological examination. Univariate and multivariate analysis of factors influencing recurrence was performed.Results.In 16 (8.2%) resections, additional lesions were detected intraoperatively. In 11 cases (5.7%), these were small (<1 cm) and subcapsular. Detection of additional tumors was associated with shorter median recurrence free survival (5.4 vs. 13.4 months; P < .001) even though all lesions were resected and risk of recurrence was stratified by the Fong score. Patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy did not generally have an increased risk of additional tumors; however, intraoperative detection of new lesions was associated with inferior outcome in this subgroup (median RFS 4.6 vs. 18.3 months in responders, P < .001).Conclusion.Preoperative imaging with contrast-enhanced MDCT and MRI is efficient and very seldom leads to changes in intraoperative strategy. Patients exhibiting additional resectable hepatic lesions upon surgery have a high risk for early recurrence and should be monitored closely during follow-up.

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