An increasing number of patients with synchronous colorectal liver metastases (CLM) are candidates for resection. The optimal treatment sequence in these patients has not been defined.
Data on 156 consecutive patients with synchronous resectable CLM and intact primary were reviewed. Surgical strategies were defined as combined (combined resection of primary and liver), classic (primary before liver), and reverse (liver before primary) after preoperative chemotherapy. Postoperative morbidity and mortality rates and overall survival were analyzed.
One hundred forty-two patients (83%) had resection of all disease. Seventy-two patients underwent classic, 43 combined, and 27 reverse strategies. Median numbers of CLMs per patient were 1 in the combined, 3 in the classic, and 4 in the reverse strategy group (p = 0.01 classic vs reverse; p < 0.001 reverse vs combined). Postoperative mortality rates in the combined, classic, and reverse strategies were 5%, 3%, and 0%, respectively (p = NS), and postoperative cumulative morbidity rates were 47%, 51%, and 31%, respectively (p = NS). Three-year and 5-year overall survival rates were, respectively, 65% and 55% in the combined, 58% and 48% in the classic, and 79% and 39% in the reverse strategy (NS). On multivariate analysis, liver tumor size >3 cm (hazard ratio [HR] 2.72, 95% CI 1.52 to 4.88) and cumulative postoperative morbidity (HR 1.8, 95% CI 1.03 to 3.19) were independently associated with overall survival after surgery.
The classic, combined, or reverse surgical strategies in patients with synchronous presentation of CLM are associated with similar outcomes. The reverse strategy can be considered as an alternative option in patients with advanced CLM and an asymptomatic primary.