In this randomized phase II trial, 119 patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases (n < 10 and no extrahepatic disease) received systemic treatment alone or systemic treatment plus aggressive local treatment by radiofrequency ablation ± resection. Previously, we reported that the primary end point (30-month overall survival [OS] > 38%) was met. We now report on long-term OS results. All statistical tests were two-sided. The analyses were according to intention to treat.
Tumor ablation is often employed for unresectable colorectal liver metastases. However, no survival benefit has ever been demonstrated in prospective randomized studies. Here, we investigate the long-term benefits of such an aggressive approach.
This phase II trial is the first randomized study demonstrating that aggressive local treatment can prolong OS in patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases.
At a median follow up of 9.7 years, 92 of 119 (77.3%) patients had died: 39 of 60 (65.0%) in the combined modality arm and 53 of 59 (89.8%) in the systemic treatment arm. Almost all patients died of progressive disease (35 patients in the combined modality arm, 49 patients in the systemic treatment arm). There was a statistically significant difference in OS in favor of the combined modality arm (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.38 to 0.88, P = .01). Three-, five-, and eight-year OS were 56.9% (95% CI = 43.3% to 68.5%), 43.1% (95% CI = 30.3% to 55.3%), 35.9% (95% CI = 23.8% to 48.2%), respectively, in the combined modality arm and 55.2% (95% CI = 41.6% to 66.9%), 30.3% (95% CI = 19.0% to 42.4%), 8.9% (95% CI = 3.3% to 18.1%), respectively, in the systemic treatment arm. Median OS was 45.6 months (95% CI = 30.3 to 67.8 months) in the combined modality arm vs 40.5 months (95% CI = 27.5 to 47.7 months) in the systemic treatment arm.