European Journal of Surgical Oncology vol:31 issue:5 pages:506-11
AIM: The amount of cancer cells disseminated during curative surgery for colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) may be responsible for recurrence. Haematogenous and intrahepatic cancer cell dissemination was evaluated, and its impact on cancer recurrence was assessed. METHOD: Twenty patients with resectable CRLM were included in a prospective study. Twelve patients underwent curative resection for 21 metastases. Ten selected metastases in eight patients were treated with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) followed by resection at the same operative session. Cancer cell dissemination was determined before, during and after surgery using 'real time' quantitative RT-PCR assay, based on detection and quantification of CEA and CK20 mRNA transcripts. RESULTS: Circulating cancer cells were detected in 80% and intrahepatic cancer cells in 37% of the patients, though without impact on cancer recurrence. The amounts of disseminated cancer cells were significantly increased after surgery. This increase was similar in patients treated with and without RFA. RFA caused complete tumour destruction. CONCLUSION: Curative surgery for CRLM significantly increases the amount of disseminated cancer cells. Radiofrequency ablation can completely destroy selected resectable CRLM without excessive cancer cell dissemination. Neither haematogenous nor intrahepatic cancer cell dissemination were related to cancer recurrence in this small patient series.