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OBJECTIVE: To compare two regimens of intra-arterial chemotherapy for the treatment of hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. DESIGN: Open study. SETTING: Teaching hospital, UK SUBJECT: 57 patients with unresectable metastases confined to the liver, and an indwelling catheter in the hepatic artery. INTERVENTIONS: The first 33 patients had a 24-hour intra-arterial infusion of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) 1500 mg/m2, together with folinic acid 200 mg/m2 intravenously for the first and last two hours of the 5-FU infusion. This was repeated at weekly intervals for six weeks followed by a two-week gap before the next cycle. The remaining 24 patients had a two-weekly regimen in which folinic acid 200 mg/m2 was infused intravenously over 2 hours followed by an intra-arterial loading dose of 5-FU 400 mg/m2 over 15 minutes; 5-FU 1600 mg/m2 was then given by intra-arterial infusion over 22 hours. This was repeated on day 2 and then at two-weekly intervals. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Response rate and toxicity. RESULTS: Median follow-up was 21 months, and estimated median survival 19 months. 29 patients (51%) have responded, 5 completely. There are no significant differences between the groups. Sites of progression were liver alone 26 (53%), lung alone 9 (18%), liver and lung 3 (6%), and the remainder in local or regional nodes (n = 7) or bone (n = 4). Six patients experienced WHO grade 3 or 4 toxicity. CONCLUSION: The two regimens have high response rates and cause little systemic toxicity. Intra-arterial chemotherapy for hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer is currently being compared with conventional systemic chemotherapy in a randomised controlled trial.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Surg

Publication Date





652 - 658


Adult, Aged, Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Colorectal Neoplasms, Female, Fluorouracil, Humans, Infusions, Intra-Arterial, Infusions, Intravenous, Leucovorin, Liver Neoplasms, Lung Neoplasms, Lymphatic Metastasis, Male, Middle Aged, Time Factors