The Potential Role of Liver Transplantation as a Treatment Option in Colorectal Liver Metastases

  • Line P
  • Hagness M
  • Dueland S
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Liver resection is the only potentially curative treatment option in patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer, but only about 20% of the patients are resectable. Liver transplantation of patients with unresectable liver metastases was attempted in the early era but it was abandoned due to poor survival. During the last decade, several case reports, a controlled pilot study, and a retrospective cohort study indicated that prolonged disease-free survival and overall survival can be obtained in a proportion of these patients. Strict selection criteria have not yet been well defined, but tumor load, response to chemotherapy, pretransplant carcinoembryonic antigen level, and time interval from resection of the primary tumor to transplant are all factors related to outcome. Carefully selected patients may obtain 5-year overall survival that approaches conventional indications for liver transplant. The scarcity of liver grafts is a significant problem, but this can possibly to some extent be addressed by use of extended criteria grafts and novel surgical techniques. There is an increasing interest in liver transplantation in these patients in the transplant community, and currently 4 clinical trials are active and are recruiting.




Line, P.-D., Hagness, M., & Dueland, S. (2018). The Potential Role of Liver Transplantation as a Treatment Option in Colorectal Liver Metastases. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2018, 1–5.

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