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In this review, the rationale of regional chemotherapy for treatment of hepatic metastases in advanced colorectal carcinoma is discussed. Pharmacokinetic principles and early clinical experience of hepatic arterial drug administration are summarised. The regional advantage of fluoropyrimidine compounds in this setting is well established, and recent evidence suggests that 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is more efficacious than the analogue 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine (FUDR). However, while significantly higher clinical response rates can be achieved with hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) chemotherapy compared with conventional intravenous drug administration, patient survival benefit is not significantly different. Several novel approaches to overcome the limitations of HAI therapy are currently being explored. These include concomitant use of biodegradable microspheres, which both slow tumour blood flow and enhance tumour drug uptake, and use of vasoactive agents to redistribute arterial blood flow towards tumours. In addition, novel chemotherapeutic agents which exploit unique biological characteristics of hepatic tumours are entering clinical trial.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





372 - 378


Colorectal Neoplasms, Floxuridine, Fluorouracil, Hepatic Artery, Humans, Infusions, Intra-Arterial, Liver Neoplasms, Maleic Anhydrides, Mitomycin, Polystyrenes, Zinostatin