Pseudoadjuvant chemotherapy in resectable metastatic colorectal cancer

Curr Opin Oncol. 2018 Jul;30(4):269-275. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000455.


Purpose of review: In this article, we focus on the potential benefits and risks of chemotherapy administration before (perioperative) or after (pseudoadjuvant) a curative resection of colorectal cancer (CRC) metastases.

Recent findings: In the published evidence, there is a lack of survival benefit from peri or postoperative chemotherapy in the context of resectable metastatic CRC. However, high-risk patients may have a certain benefit when receiving a postoperative cytotoxic treatment. Apart from, according to the published data, the administration of a preoperative chemotherapy has been associated with serious parenchymal liver damage and an increase in the postoperative morbidity-mortality rate.

Summary: Surgery is the only potentially curative treatment for metastatic CRC, but the risk of recurrence remains high. The current guidelines recommend the administration of either a perioperative or a pseudoadjuvant chemotherapy in this setting despite the absence of survival benefit. A better selection of patients who may require and gain an advantage from chemotherapy in the setting of resectable metastasis is highly needed. In this view, a prospective trial enrolling patients at high risk of recurrence is ongoing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic