Colorectal cancers: therapy of recurrences and metastases
Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
Recurrent disease from colorectal carcinomas is common. 25 percent of patients have apparent metastases at the time of first detection of the tumor, and at least 50% of patients die from their tumor. The aim of the postoperative follow-up of patients with carcinoma of the colon and rectum is thus to detect recurrent tumor when cure is still possible. Clinical examination and CEA-measurement is widely recommended as a reliable indicator for recurrence and metastases of colonic cancer. This may be combined with regular coloscopic surveillance for detection of anastomotic recurrences or a second colonic cancer. In case of suspicion of a recurrence or metastasis a full range of examinations should be performed to detect the site of recurrent tumor and to exclude wide spread disease. In case of a circumscribed lesion the patients may benefit from local radical resection. Patients with four or less unilateral liver metastases show a five year disease free survival reported of more than 30% and a disease free survival reported of more than 25%. Unfortunately because of wide spread misunderstanding of the potential of hepatic Rx only about 1/3 of potentially curatively resectable patients with liver metastases finally undergo liver surgery. A more active policy towards patients with colorectal disease concerning surveillance may lead to a better survival in selected cases.