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Trend Toward Survival Seen with Chemo in Liver Cancer

Patients receiving chemotherapy, resection for liver metastases showed more progression-free survival

FRIDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Perioperative chemotherapy combined with surgery showed some benefit in patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer compared with surgery alone, measured in progression-free survival, researchers report in the March 22 issue of The Lancet.

Bernard Nordlinger, M.D., of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Ambroise Pare in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, and colleagues analyzed data from 364 patients with colorectal cancer and up to four potentially resectable liver metastases, who were randomized to surgery alone or to six cycles of FOLFOX4 both before and after surgery.

In patients who were eligible or actually received resection, the absolute increase in rate of progression-free survival at three years was 8.1 and 9.2 percent, respectively. The authors conclude that this chemotherapy regimen is compatible with major liver surgery.

"Despite this major clinical effort by the authors and participating centers, this new study does not prove a positive effect of perioperative chemotherapy on progression-free survival," write Scott Kopetz, M.D., and Jean-Nicolas Vauthey, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in an accompanying commentary. However, "despite the modest benefits on progression-free survival, this study clearly shows the advantage of preoperative FOLFOX to select the patients most likely to benefit from hepatic resection."

Nordlinger and several co-authors, as well as the authors of the commentary, report financial relationships with a number of pharmaceutical companies.

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