Distribution of metastases at necropsy in colorectal cancer

Clin Exp Metastasis. 1983 Apr-Jun;1(2):97-101. doi: 10.1007/BF00121489.


A series of 372 necropsies on patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) was examined retrospectively. Patients were excluded if the primary tumour was not removed, if the operation was palliative or if death occurred within three months of operation. Only 43 cases remained after these exclusions and of these six died of intercurrent disease. The 37 remaining patients were all thought to have undergone a curative resection, following which they died with recurrent tumour. They represent the group of patients who might have benefited from adjuvant chemotherapy. The pattern of metastases and the cause of death was examined in these 37 patients. Local recurrence was found more commonly (25 cases, 68 per cent) than hepatic metastases (21 cases, 57 per cent) or metastases at other sites. This finding indicates that excision of the primary tumour must be as complete as possible and that adjuvant therapies must be directed both locally as well as systemically.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Rectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology*