Considerable side effects of chemoembolization for colorectal carcinoma metastatic to the liver
The feasibility of one whole liver chemoembolization (CE) procedure with Angiostat, a vasoocclusive collagen, mitomycin, doxorubicin, and cisplatin was evaluated in eight patients with unresectable colorectal carcinoma metastatic to the liver and good performance status. One heavily pretreated patient showed a partial response in the liver lasting 188 days. Five patients had stabilization of the disease for 85-150 days. The side effects of the treatment were considerable with a fatigue syndrome lasting up to eight weeks, chemical and ischemic hepatitis, severe thrombopenia (WHO grade 4 in 2 pts) and icterus being the most disturbing toxicities. We recommend to restrict CE to patients with a life expectancy of more than 4-6 months confined to protocols, which evaluate efficacy, toxicity and influence on quality of life of CE with various cytotoxic drugs. We further suggest to perform staged unilobar CE at 4- to 6-week intervals rather than whole liver CE.