Aims: Colorectal carcinoma is the second most common cause of cancer death in the western world and nearly 50% of patients develop liver metastases. Many cancers are managed via a multidisciplinary team process. This study compares the long term outcome of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer referred via a multidisciplinary team including a liver surgeon (MDT) with those referred directly to a specialist hepatobiliary unit.
Patients and method: This is a prospective study of 331 consecutive referrals made to a specialist hepatobiliary unit over ten years out of which 108 patients were referred via a colorectal MDT which included a liver surgeon and 223 were directly referred via colorectal MDTs without a liver surgeon. Pre-operative assessment and management were standardised and short and long term data were recorded.
Results: Patients referred via the MDT had 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates of 89.6%, 67.5% and 49.9% respectively and 1-, 3- and 5-year disease-free survival of 65.4%, 31% and 27.2% respectively. Patients referred directly had 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates of 90.3%, 54.1% and 43.3% respectively and 1-, 3- and 5-year disease-free survival rates of 70.3%, 37.6% and 27.9% respectively. The difference in overall survival was significant (P=0.0001), although the difference in disease-free survival was not (P=0.21).
Conclusion: Assessing, managing and referring patients with metastatic colorectal cancer via a multidisciplinary team including a liver surgeon is associated with improved overall survival.