Treatment of colorectal liver metastases by cryotherapy

Semin Surg Oncol. 1998 Mar;14(2):163-70. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2388(199803)14:2<163::aid-ssu8>;2-3.


One hundred fifty-eight procedures were performed on 136 patients with unresectable hepatic metastases using hepatic cryotherapy to ablate the tumors. The median age was 62 years. Patients included 90 males and 46 females. Fifty-eight patients had synchronous metastases, 55 had bilobar lesions, and 90 had precryo chemotherapy. Median preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level was 14.4 ng/dl. The numbers of lesions treated, frozen, and resected were two and one. Median survival of all patients was 30 months. Survival for 39 patients was 37 months. Patients with a CEA level > 100 ng/dl had a statistically worse survival rate than those with a level < 100 ng/dl (P < .001). Twenty patients underwent recryotherapy with median survival of 34 months. Recurrent disease developed in 78% of patients--82% of the patients developed liver recurrence. Complication rates were comparable to liver resection. Operative mortality was 3.7%. Hepatic cryotherapy is effective and safe in treating colorectal hepatic metastases under ultrasound guidance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cryosurgery* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen