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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45-

Liver metastasectomy after neo adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer: A word of caution

SK Chandrasekar1, RA Seshadri1, U Majhi2,  
1 Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India
2 Department of Pathology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
R A Seshadri
Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai

How to cite this article:
Chandrasekar S K, Seshadri R A, Majhi U. Liver metastasectomy after neo adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer: A word of caution.Indian J Cancer 2013;50:45-45

How to cite this URL:
Chandrasekar S K, Seshadri R A, Majhi U. Liver metastasectomy after neo adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer: A word of caution. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Nov 26 ];50:45-45
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Dear Sir,

We wish to present a potentially life-threatening but often overlooked complication of liver metastasectomy following neo adjuvant chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancers (mCRC). A 51 year old lady diagnosed with synchronous adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid colon and the splenic flexure with a synchronous liver metastasis (in segments 6, 7 and part of segment 5) initially underwent extended left hemi colectomy in our institution due to the obstructing nature of the tumors. In view of the large size of the liver metastasis, the patient then received 6 cycles of chemotherapy using the FOLFOX regimen. PET- CT scan repeated at the end of 6 cycles revealed a decrease in the size and the standard uptake value of the lesion when compared to the PET-CT done at time of diagnosis. She was then considered for metastasectomy. Since a segmental liver resection would have resulted in positive margins, a right hepatectomy had to be performed. The liver was slightly bluish in color. There was excessive intraoperative blood loss necessitating transfusion of two units of blood. Histopathological examination confirmed negative resection margins. However, the surrounding liver showed features of sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (score 2-3) and non alcoholic steatohepatitis (score 4 -5) [Figure 1]. Postoperatively she had features of acute liver failure with ascites and jaundice. With conservative measures, the ascites resolved; however, the serum bilirubin continued to be very high and returned to normal levels nearly 3 months after the surgery.{Figure 1}

Neo adjuvant chemotherapy has been shown to improve progression free survival in mCRC. [1] However, chemotherapy can induce two important pathological changes in the liver- sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS) and chemotherapy associated steatohepatitis (CASH). [2],[3],[4] SOS is seen in 20%-50% of patients receiving oxaliplatin based chemotherapy. [2],[3] Histologic features of SOS include sinusoidal congestion and dilatation, disruption of the sinusoidal membrane and collagen deposition within peri- sinusoidal space. [2] SOS can cause increased intraoperative blood loss and increased post-operative morbidity without increasing the mortality. [4],[5] CASH is a form of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis characterized by the presence of steatosis, lobular inflammation and ballooning of the hepatocytes. It is seen in about 20% of patients receiving irinotecan and assumes clinical significance because it can cause increased transfusion requirements, poor tolerance to warm ischemia and increased post-operative morbidity and mortality. [3],[4],[5] The risk of surgical complications increases if more than 6 cycles of chemotherapy is given pre operatively [5] or if the interval between completion of chemotherapy and surgery is less than four weeks. [6] Hence, surgery should be planned once the metastasis becomes resectable rather than waiting for maximum downsizing. Although preoperative identification of CASH and SOS is difficult, awareness of these pathological changes is essential in planning multimodal treatment in patients with mCRC.


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