• colorectal cancer;
  • liver metastases;
  • chemoembolization;
  • liver-directed therapy;
  • survival



Unresectable colorectal liver metastases have a 1- and 2-year survival of 55% and 33% with current systemic therapies. The authors evaluated response and survival after transarterial chemoembolization.


Chemoembolization with cisplatin, doxorubicin, mitomycin C, ethiodized oil, and polyvinyl alcohol particles was performed at monthly intervals for 1 to 4 sessions. Cross-sectional imaging and clinical and laboratory evaluation were performed before treatment, 1 month after treatment, and then every 3 months. A second cycle was performed for intrahepatic recurrence. Toxicity was assessed using National Cancer Institute's Common Toxicity Criteria version 3.0. Response was evaluated using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria. Progression and survival were estimated with Kaplan-Meier analysis.


A total of 245 treatments were performed over 141 cycles on 121 patients. Ninety-five of 141 treatment cycles were evaluable for response: 2 (2%) partial response, 39 (41%) stable disease, and 54 (57%) progression. Median time to disease progression (TTP) in the treated liver was 5 months, and median TTP anywhere was 3 months. Median survival was 33 months from diagnosis of the primary colon cancer, 27 months from development of liver metastases, and 9 months from chemoembolization. Survival was significantly better when chemoembolization was performed after first- or second-line systemic therapy (11-12 months) than after third- to fifth-line therapies (6 months) (P = .03). Presence of extrahepatic metastases did not adversely affect survival (P = .48).


Chemoembolization provided local disease control of hepatic metastases after 43% of treatment cycles. Median survival was 27 months overall, and 11 months when initiated for salvage after failure of second-line systemic therapy. Cancer 2011. © 2010 American Cancer Society.