Phase II trial of chemoembolization for the treatment of metastatic colorectal carcinoma to the liver and review of the literature

Claudia Tellez, Al B. Benson*, Michael T. Lyster, Mark Talamonti, John Shaw, Michael A. Braun, Albert A. Nemcek, Robert L. Vogelzang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Hepatic artery chemoembolization represents an alternative treatment for patients whose neoplastic lesions are not amenable or have become refractory to other treatment modalities. This project was designed to test the feasibility of regional chemoembolization for patients with colorectal carcinoma metastasis to the liver who had experienced failure with one or more systemic treatments. METHODS. Thirty patients who met the study entry criteria underwent one to three hepatic artery chemoembolizations. The chemoembolization regimen consisted of an injection of a bovine collagen material with cisplatin (10 mg/mL), doxorubucin (3 mg/mL), and mitomycin C (3 mg/mL). Repeat treatments were performed at 6- to 8-week intervals. RESULTS. Radiologic responses, as measured by a decrease in lesion density of at least 75% of the lesion or a 25% decrease in the size of the lesion, occurred in 63% of the cases. A decrease of at least 25% of the baseline carcinoembryonic antigen level occurred in 95% of the cases. All responses were transient. Median survival for all 30 patients was 8.6 months after the initiation of chemoembolization and 29 months after the initial diagnosis of metastasis to the liver. Common toxicities included a 'postembolization syndrome', which consisted of fever > 101 °F (83%), pain in the right upper quadrant (100%), nausea, and vomiting. Lethargy was a common occurrence (in 60+% of cases) and lasted up to 6 weeks. Hematologic toxicities included leukocytosis, anemia, and thrombocytopenia. Conclusions. Chemoembolization is a feasible treatment modality for patients with colorectal carcinoma metastasis to the liver who have experienced failure with other systemic treatments. It results in high response rates with transient mild-to-moderate toxicity. Responses are measured in months, however, and all patients have eventual progression of disease. Patients who are able to undergo three or more chemoembolization procedures may receive the most clinical benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1259
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998



  • Angiostat
  • Chemoembolization
  • Cisplatin
  • Colorectal
  • Doxorubicin
  • Liver
  • Metastatic
  • Mitomycin c

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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