Is Liver Transplantation an Option in Colorectal Cancer Patients with Nonresectable Liver Metastases and Progression on All Lines of Standard Chemotherapy?

Ann Surg Oncol. 2015 Jul;22(7):2195-200. doi: 10.1245/s10434-014-4137-0. Epub 2014 Oct 9.


Background: About 50 % of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) will develop metastatic disease with liver as primary metastatic site. The majority of CRC patients has nonresectable disease and receives palliative chemotherapy. Overall survival (OS) from time of progression on last line of chemotherapy in metastatic CRC is about 5 months. CLM have been considered a contraindication for liver transplantation. However, we have previously reported 5-year OS of 60 % after liver transplantation for nonresectable CLM. There were six patients who had progressive disease (PD) on last line of standard chemotherapy at the time of liver transplantation; here we report the outcome for these six patients.

Methods: Patients with nonresectable liver-only CLM received liver transplantation in the SECA study, a subgroup of six patients whose disease had progressed on all standard lines of chemotherapy.

Results: These patients with nonresectable disease and PD on the last line of standard chemotherapy at time of liver transplantation had 8-35 metastatic lesions in the liver with the largest diameter at 2.8-13.0 cm. All patients had a relapse within 2.1-12.4 months after liver transplantation. Some patients received treatment with curative intent at the time of relapse, and median OS after transplantation was 41 months with a Kaplan-Meier calculated 5-year OS of 44 %.

Conclusions: Liver transplantation in nonresectable CLM patients with extensive tumor load and PD on the last line of chemotherapy had extended OS compared with any other treatment option reported in the literature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / surgery*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate