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Research Article

Adjuvant liver perfusion in colorectal cancer: initial results of a clinical trial.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 19 November 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1320
  1. I Taylor,
  2. P Brooman,
  3. J T Rowling


    Fifty consecutive patients with colorectal cancer but no evidence of secondary deposits in the liver were included in an ongoing controlled clinical trial of adjuvant liver perfusion aimed at reducing the incidence of hepatic metastases. All patients had their primary tumour resected in the standard way. Twenty-six of the patients served as controls, and 24 received fluorouracil, 1 g daily, as a continuous infusion into the portal venous system during the first seven days after operation. The patients were matched for age, sex, and site and stage of the disease. The immediate postoperative mortality and morbidity did not differ significantly between the two groups. During the follow-up period (mean duration 15.5 months), however, six deaths occurred in the control group and only one in the perfusion group. At necropsy four of the controls had multiple liver metastases. Two of the surviving controls developed evidence of liver metastases, and two had a local recurrence. No patient in the perfusion group developed evidence of hepatic metastases. These initial results suggest that adjuvant portal venous perfusion with fluorouracil may reduce the incidence of liver metastases in colorectal cancer.