Background: The extent of surgical margin is still a matter of controversy with regard to outcome after liver resection for metastatic disease. The aim of this study was to clarify the significant prognostic factors after hepatectomy for colorectal metastases, with special reference to the surgical margin. Methods: Ninety-six patients who underwent initial hepatic resection for liver metastases from colorectal cancer between 1992 and 1994 were studied. Results: Overall 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates were 94, 61 and 51 per cent respectively. All of the independent factors associated with poor prognosis after hepatic resection were tumour-related factors, such as the number of tumours (four or more), presence of portal vein invasion, hepatic vein invasion and absence of a fibrous pseudocapsule. A. positive resection margin was not an independent prognostic factor, because of its strong relationship with the number of rumours resected. Conclusion: A generous surgical margin is not essential for curative hepatic resection, although positive surgical margins should be avoided. New potential risk factors which affect survival, such as the presence of portal vein or hepatic vein invasion and the absence of a pseudocapsule, may be helpful for defining the indications for postoperative adjuvant treatment.
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