BACKGROUND: Surgery is currently the only potentially curative treatment for hepatic or pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer. However, the benefit of surgery and the criteria for the inclusion of patients developing hepatic and pulmonary metastases are not well defined.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the outcome for patients who undergo surgery for both hepatic and pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer, to present a set of preoperative criteria for use in patient selection, and to analyze potential prognostic factors related to survival.
DESIGN: This was an observational study with retrospective analysis of data collected with a prospective protocol.
SETTINGS: This investigation was conducted at a tertiary centre.
PATIENTS: Between January 1996 and January 2010, of 319 patients who underwent surgery for hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer, 44 also had resection of pulmonary metastases. A set of strict selection criteria established by a panel of liver surgeons, chest surgeons, oncologists, and radiologists was used.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Survival was estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method, and univariate analyses were performed to evaluate potential prognostic factors for survival, including variables related to patient, primary tumour, hepatic, and pulmonary metastases and chemotherapy.
RESULTS: The 44 patients received a total of 53 pulmonary resections: 36 patients had 1, 7 patients had 2, and 1 patient had 3 resections. There was no postoperative mortality and the morbidity rate after pulmonary resection was 1.8%. No patient was lost to follow-up. Overall survival was 93% at 1 year, 81% at 3 years, and 64% at 5 years. Factors related to poor prognosis in the univariate analysis were presence of more than 1 pulmonary metastasis (p = 0.04), invasion of the surgical margin (p = 0.006), and administration of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.01 for hepatic metastases and p = 0.02 for pulmonary metastases).
LIMITATIONS: The study was limited by its observational nature and the relatively small number of patients.
CONCLUSION: In patients with hepatic and pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer selected according to strict inclusion criteria, surgical treatment performed in a specialized center is a safe option that offers prolonged survival.