How Aggressive Should We Be in Patients with Stage IV Colorectal Cancer?

Li Jen Kuo, Shuh Yan Leu, Mei Ching Liu, James Jer Min Jian, Skye Hongiun Cheng, Chung Ming Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: The prognosis for metastatic colorectal cancer is grave. Whether to perform surgical resection or palliative treatment remains controversial for this advanced disease. In this retrospective study, we collected data from patients with Stage IV colorectal cancer to identify prognostic factors for predicting selection criteria for surgical treatment in patients with metastatic disease. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed for patients treated from 1992 to 1999 from the Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center Tumor Registry. Seventy-four patients were identified as having Stage IV disease at the time of diagnosis. Data concerning the patients' demographics, laboratory results, operative procedure, mortality, morbidity, and survival were collected. Independent variables and survival time were analyzed by the independent t-test method. The difference was considered statistically significant at P <0.05. RESULTS: Overall survival time for the patients with Stage IV colorectal cancer was 16.1 months. Survival in the curative resection group was significantly longer than that in the noncurative group (31.9 vs. 12.7; P <0.016). The operative mortality and morbidity rates were 5.6 percent (4 of 71) and 21.1 percent (15 of 71), respectively. The two most common complications were leakage at the site of anastomosis and urinary tract infection. Based on these results, we conclude that patients older than 65 years, with metastases at multiple sites, intestinal obstruction, preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen level ≥500 ng/ml, lactate dehydrogenase ≥350 units/liter, hemoglobin 25 percent have poor prognosis for surgical intervention. CONCLUSION: Whether to perform primary tumor resection in patients with asymptomatic Stage IV colorectal cancer remains controversial; however, the more aggressively we perform radical resection and metastasectomy to selected patients, the more survival benefits the patients obtain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1646-1652
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Metastasectomy
  • Stage IV
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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