Survival Following Liver Transplantation for Patients With Nonresectable Liver-only Colorectal Metastases : Annals of Surgery

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Survival Following Liver Transplantation for Patients With Nonresectable Liver-only Colorectal Metastases

Dueland, Svein MD; Syversveen, Trygve MD; Solheim, Jon Magnus MD; Solberg, Steinar MD§; Grut, Harald MD; Bjørnbeth, Bjørn Atle MD; Hagness, Morten MD; Line, Pål-Dag MD‡,||

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Annals of Surgery 271(2):p 212-218, February 2020. | DOI: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003404



To determine overall survival and disease-free survival in selected patients with nonresectable liver-only colorectal cancer receiving liver transplantation.


Patients with nonresectable colorectal cancer receiving palliative chemotherapy has a 5-year overall survival of about 10%. Liver transplantation provided an overall survival of 60% in a previous study (SECA-I). Risk factors for death were carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) >80 μg/L, progressive disease on chemotherapy, size of largest lesion>5.5 cm, and less than 2 years from resection of the primary tumor to transplantation.


In this prospective (SECA-II) study, we included colorectal cancer patients with nonresectable liver-only metastases determined by computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging/positron emission tomography scans and at least 10% response to chemotherapy. Time from diagnosis to liver transplant was required to be more than 1 year.


At a median follow-up of 36 months, Kaplan-Meier overall survival at 1, 3, and 5 years were 100%, 83%, and 83%, respectively. Disease-free survival at 1, 2, and 3 years were 53%, 44%, and 35%, respectively. Overall survival from time of relapse at 1, 2, and 4 years were 100%, 73%, and 73%, respectively. Recurrence was mainly slow growing pulmonary metastases amenable to curative resection. Fong Clinical Risk Score of 1 to 2 at the time of diagnosis resulted in longer disease-free survival than score 3 to 4 (P = 0.044). Patients included in the present study had significantly better prognostic factors than the previous SECA-I study.


Liver transplantation provides the longest overall survival reported in colorectal cancer patient with nonresectable liver metastases. Improved selection criteria give patients with nonresectable colorectal liver metastases a 5-year overall survival comparable to other indications for liver transplantation.

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