Background: The feasibility and efficacy of adjuvant hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) in preventing the development of liver metastases in patients with advanced colon carcinoma have not been validated. The aim of this randomized controlled study was to compare the feasibility of HAI and the protective effect against liver metastasis after curative resection to those of systemic chemotherapy. Methods: Between July 2000 and June 2003, 91 patients were enrolled. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) via continuous venous infusion (CVI) or intra-hepatic arterial weekly high-dose 5-FU (WHF). The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS). Results: In the WHF group, the cumulative failure rate of hepatic arterial catheterization was 16.7% at 6 months. The occurrence of grade 3 adverse events was comparable between the groups. The 5-year OS rates were 59.0% in the CVI group and 34.9% in the WHF group (P = 0.164). CVI tended to show a protective effect against liver metastasis regarding the 5-year liver-specific cumulative recurrence rate: CVI, 45.0% vs. WHF, 68.3%; P = 0.037). Conclusion: HAI therapy has a certain protective effect against liver metastasis after curative resection in patients with colorectal cancer. However, this therapy did not contribute to any marked improvement in their overall survival.
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