Long-term results of two-stage hepatectomy for irresectable colorectal cancer liver metastases

Dennis A Wicherts, Rafael Miller, Robbert J de Haas, Georgia Bitsakou, Eric Vibert, Luc-Antoine Veilhan, Daniel Azoulay, Henri Bismuth, Denis Castaing, René Adam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

236 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess feasibility, risks, and long-term outcome of 2-stage hepatectomy as a means to improve resectability of colorectal liver metastases (CLM).

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Two-stage hepatectomy uses compensatory liver regeneration after a first noncurative hepatectomy to enable a second curative resection.

METHODS: Between October 1992 and January 2007, among 262 patients with initially irresectable CLM, 59 patients (23%) were planned for 2-stage hepatectomy. Patients were eligible when single resection could not achieve complete treatment, even in combination with chemotherapy, portal embolization, or radiofrequency, but tumors could be totally removed by 2 sequential resections. Feasibility and outcomes were prospectively evaluated.

RESULTS: Two-stage hepatectomy was feasible in 41 of 59 patients (69%). Eighteen patients failed to complete the second hepatectomy because of disease progression (n = 17) or bad performance status (n = 1). The 41 successfully treated patients had a mean number of 9.1 metastases (mean diameter, 48.5 mm at diagnosis). Chemotherapy was delivered before (95%), in between (78%), and after (78%) the 2 hepatectomies. Mean delay between the 2 liver resections was 4.2 months. Postoperative mortality was 0% and 7% (3/41) after the first and second hepatectomy, respectively. Morbidity rates were also higher after the second procedure (59% vs. 20%) (P < 0.001). Five-year survival was 31% on an intention to treat basis, and all but 2 patients who did not complete the 2-stage strategy died within 19 months. After a median follow-up of 24.4 months (range, 3.7-130.3), overall 3- and 5-year survivals for patients that completed both hepatectomies were 60% and 42%, respectively, after the first hepatectomy (median survival, 42 months from first hepatectomy and 57 months from metastases diagnosis). Disease-free survivals were 26% and 13% at 3 and 5 years, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Two-stage hepatectomy provides a 5-year survival of 42% and a hope of long-term survival for selected patients with extensive bilobar CLM, irresectable by any other means.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1005
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/pathology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms/secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications/epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome

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