Metastatic liver disease is the commonest cause of death in patients with colorectal cancer. A small proportion of these patients (10%) may be treated by surgical resection with five year survival approaching 35-40%. Alternative treatment modalities for localised hepatic disease include in situ ablative techniques that have the advantages of percutaneous application and minimal morbidity. These include Interstitial Laser Thermotherapy (ILT), Radio Frequency Ablation, Percutaneous Microwave therapy, and Focussed Ultrasound Therapy. This article focuses specifically on the development and utilisation of ILT in the treatment of colorectal liver metastases. It provides a review of the pathophysiological factors involved, present status of clinical studies, and future directions. ILT is a safe technique for the treatment of colorectal liver metastases. It may be delivered by minimally invasive techniques to lesions considered unresectable by present criteria. Limitations include the extent and completeness of tumour necrosis achieved as well as imaging techniques. Clinical problems include a lack of controlled studies. Assessment of long-term survival in prospective randomised trials is needed to assess the efficacy of this procedure.