What Is Colorectal Liver Metastasis (CLM)?
Colorectal liver metastasis, or CLM, occurs when colon or rectal cancer spreads or metastasizes to the liver via the portal circulation. Up to 25% of patients diagnosed with colon cancer are determined upon appropriate investigation to have colorectal liver metastases. As many as 50 % of patients will develop spread to the liver at a remote time after their diagnosis.
Treatment Has Come a Long Way
Prior to the advent of liver surgery (50 years ago), all patients with liver metastases from colon cancer died as a result of metastatic disease. Liver resection or removal of portions (segments) of the liver offers many patients the hope of being cured.
Prior to contemporary chemotherapy, survival of patients treated with liver resection was as high as 30%. Modern chemotherapy (the past 10 years) has improved the results obtained by liver resection alone. Survival rates over 50% have been reported by many centers in the literature.
Aggressive surgery on the liver is possible because of the liver’s regenerative capacity. As much as 70% of the liver can be removed because of the liver’s remarkable ability to regenerate.
Dr. Fraiman has been treating patients with colorecal liver metastases for 20 years with great success and outcomes. Contact the Liver and Pancreas Center at St. Joseph Medical Center in Baltimore, MD today to see how Dr. Fraiman and his team may be able to help you or a loved one suffering with colorectal liver metastasis.
Treatment for Colorectal Liver Metastases
Treatment for colorectal liver metastasis is solely dependent on the stage at which the cancer was discovered. Early-stage colorectal liver metastasis is best treated with surgery. About 90 percent of stage I and 80 percent of stage II colorectal cancers are curable with surgery. Advanced stage III and stage IV often require a combination of therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
Even though the stage of your cancer is an important consideration when determining the type of treatment you should have, it is not the only factor in defining your treatment. All treatments at St. Joseph’s Medical Center are determined on an individual basis after multidisciplinary discussions with surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. This is because no two cancers and no two people are managed the same way.
Additionally, several other factors will be considered in your treatment, including your age, family history of cancer, general health and other medical conditions. We will also base your treatment on whether it’s a new cancer or a recurrence.
At St. Joseph’s Medical Center, we provide each patient with comprehensive patient-centered care to ensure everyone receives the best treatment.
Surgery for Colorectal Liver Metastasis
Every year, surgeons at St. Joseph’s Medical Center operate on many patients with colorectal liver metastases. Dr. Fraiman and his multidisciplinary team have developed and perfected several techniques that produce better results, minimize blood loss and reduce the need for transfusion during surgery.
We’ve been at the forefront in proving that surgical intervention may add many years to your life. Specifically, surgery for patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver is safe and effective, even for metastases.
For some patients, we can do the operation immediately. For others, chemotherapy and other types of treatment may be needed first to try and shrink the tumors, making them easier to remove. Alternatively, we may need to do portal vein embolization to allow growth of new liver tissue before the main surgery. This mitigates the risk of having to remove a significant portion of the liver in one operation.
Contact Our Colorectal Liver Metastasis Specialists Today
As many as 50 percent of all people diagnosed with colorectal liver metastases survive for about five years after surgery. However, our surgical advancements have led to long-term survival rates beyond five years. To get in touch with our liver specialists, please complete our contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Below are videos that help explain the procedure of liver resection for CLM.