Liver transplantation for colorectal liver metastases: revisiting the concept


Aksel Foss, MD, PhD, Division of Surgery, Section for Transplantation, Oslo University Hospital – Rikshospitalet, N-0027 Oslo, Norway. Tel.: +4790833529; e-mail: number: NCT00294827)


Liver transplantation (Lt) for colorectal cancer (CRC) liver metastases is no more considered due to the poor outcome observed up to the 1990s. According to the European Liver Transplant Registry (ELTR), 1- and 5-year patient survival following Lt for CRC liver metastases performed prior to 1995 was 62% and 18%, respectively. However, 44% of graft loss or patient deaths were not related to tumor recurrence. Over the last 20 years there has been dramatic progress in patient survival after Lt, thus it could be anticipated that survival after Lt for CRC secondaries today would exceed from far, the outcome of the past experience. By utilizing new imaging techniques for proper patient selection, modern chemotherapy and aggressive multimodal treatment against metastases, long term survivors and even cure could be expected. Preliminary data from a pilot study show an overall survival rate of 94% after a median follow up of 25 months. While long term survival after the first Lt is 80% all indications confounded, 5-year survival after repeat Lt is no more than 50% to 55%. If patients transplanted for CRC secondaries can reach the latter survival rate, it could be difficult to discriminate them in the liver allocation system and live donation could be an option.