The FOXFIRE (5-Fluorouracil, OXaliplatin and Folinic acid ± Interventional Radio-Embolisation) clinical trial combined systemic chemotherapy (OxMdG: Oxaliplatin, 5-fluorouracil and folic acid) with Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT or radio-embolisation) using yttrium-90 resin microspheres in the first-line management for liver-dominant metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). We report clinical outcomes for patients having hepatic resection after this novel combination therapy and an exploratory analysis of histopathology. Multi-Disciplinary Teams deemed all patients inoperable before trial registration and reassessed them during protocol therapy. Proportions were compared using Chi-squared tests and survival using Cox models. FOXFIRE randomised 182 participants to chemotherapy alone and 182 to chemotherapy with SIRT. There was no statistically significant difference in the resection rate between groups: Chemotherapy alone was 18%, (n = 33); SIRT combination was 21% (n = 38) (p = 0.508). There was no statistically significant difference between groups in the rate of liver surgery, nor in survival from time of resection (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.83-2.89). In the subgroup studied for histopathology, microsphere density was highest at the tumour periphery. Patients treated with SIRT plus chemotherapy displayed lower values of viable tumour in comparison to those treated with chemotherapy alone (p < 0.05). This study promotes the feasibility of hepatic resection following SIRT. Resin microspheres appear to preferentially distribute at the tumour periphery and may enhance tumour regression.
Keywords: brachytherapy; hepatectomy; interventional oncology; trans-arterial radio-embolisation.