Local Treatment of Unresectable Colorectal Liver Metastases: Results of a Randomized Phase II Trial.



This phase II trial is the first randomized study demonstrating that aggressive local treatment can prolong OS in patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases.


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.


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.


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.

More about this publication

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
  • Volume 109
  • Issue nr. 9
  • Publication date 01-09-2017

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.