Systemic chemotherapy combined with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) appears safe and effective in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) who have liver metastasis, according to a study published in Annals of Medicine and Surgery.
The liver is the most popular metastatic location of CRC, and liver metastasis are present in up to 30% of patients at the time of diagnosis. More than half of patients with CRC will develop liver metastasis during their course of disease. Radical surgery has been shown to improve prognosis in patients with resectable cases, but only 10% to 20% of patients with CRC liver metastasis have operable tumors. Systemic chemotherapy represents the standard treatment for patients with inoperable CRC liver metastasis, and combined with RFA, which is less invasive than surgery and has been shown to be effective in hard-to-reach-locations, the 2 treatment modalities have demonstrated improved responses and efficacy compared with chemotherapy alone; however, results across studies have been inconsistent.
In this study, researchers conducted a cohort analysis of 30 patients with CRC liver metastasis who underwent systemic chemotherapy combined with RFA from January 2017 to August 2020. According to the findings, the response rates following 4 and 8 cycles of chemotherapy were 73.3% and 85.2%, respectively. All patients achieved responses after radiofrequency therapy, with a complete response rate of 63.3% and a partial response rate of 36.7%. Researchers noted the average progression-free survival duration was 16.7 months.
“Systemic chemotherapy in combination with RFA is a safe and effective method in the treatment of inoperable colorectal cancer with liver metastases,” the researchers concluded. Despite the encouraging results, they emphasized the study was limited by its small, single-center sample size and retrospective design. “[There] should be a larger, prospective study to better analyze the effectiveness [and] safety, as well as determine the prognosis factors of this treatment method,” they wrote.