Background: Hepatic resection for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) with concomitant extrahepatic disease (EHD) is controversial. Earlier reports of the results of liver resection for metastatic CRC identified patients with EHD as a group with poor outcomes, suggesting that the presence of EHD was an absolute contraindication to resection. This has recently been challenged in several reports due to advances in systemic chemotherapy, surgical technique, and patient selection. Methods: This review was restricted to published data in the English language identified by searches of MEDLINE and Pubmed databases as well as reference lists of recent review articles on subjects of surgery for metastatic colorectal cancer. Results: Five-year survival after resection is worse than patients with liver-only disease but approximates the survival rates seen in patients with resected liver-only metastases in the era prior to the use of modern chemotherapy. Recurrence occurs in the great majority of patients. Conclusions: At this time, there appears to be a role for surgery in highly selected patients with a single site of EHD amenable to complete resection. Unlike patients with liver-only disease, however, the goals of surgery must not be viewed as potentially curative.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes