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Surgical downstaging and neo-adjuvant therapy in metastatic colorectal carcinoma with irinotecan drug-eluting beads: a multi-institutional study


  • Presented at the 9th Annual Meeting of the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, 12–15 March 2009, Miami, FL, USA.

Robert CG Martin, Associate Professor of Surgery, Director, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40292, USA. Tel: 502 629 3355; Fax: 502 629 3030; E-mail:


Background:  Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for potentially resectable metastatic colorectal cancer (MCC) is becoming a more common treatment algorithm. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of precision hepatic arterial Irinotecan therapy in unresectable MCC.

Methods:  An open-label, multi-centre, multi-national single arm study of MCC patients, who received hepatic arterial irinotecan. Primary endpoints were safety, tolerance and metastatic tumour resection.

Results:  Fifty-five patients with metastatic colorectal to the liver underwent a total of 90 hepatic arterial irinotecan treatments. The extent of liver involvement was <25% in 75% of the patients (n= 41), between 26 and 50% in 15% of the patients (n= 11) and >50% in 10% of the patients (n= 24). The median number of hepatic lesions was four (range 1–20), with a median total size of all target lesions of 9 cm (range 5.5–28 cm) with 50% of patients having bilobar tumour distribution. The median number of irinotecan treatments was two (range 1–5). The median treatment dose was 100 mg (range 100–200) with a median total hepatic treatment of 200 mg (range 200–650). The majority of treatments (86%) were performed as lobar infusion treatments, and 30% of patients were treated with concurrent simultaneous chemotherapy. Eleven (20%) patients demonstrated significant response and downstage of their disease or demonstrated stable disease without extra-hepatic disease progression allowing resection, ablation or resection and ablation. There were no post-operative deaths. Post-operative complications morbidity occurred in 18% of patients, with none of them hepatic related. Non-tumorous liver resected demonstrated no evidence of steatohepatitis from the irinotecan arterial infusion.

Conclusions:  Hepatic arterial infusion irinotecan drug-eluting beads is safe and effective in pre-surgical therapy and helpful in evaluating the biology of metastatic colorectal cancer to the liver prior to planned hepatic resection.