Background: For patients with colorectal liver metastasis (CLM), the presence of concomitant perihepatic/para-aortic lymph node metastasis (LNM) is considered a contraindication to liver resection. We sought to determine the benefits of liver resection among patients with CLM + LNM by examining long-term outcomes among a large cohort of patients. Methods: Between October 1996 and December 2007, 61 patients with CLM and pathologically proven LNM were identified from an international multi-institutional database of 1629 patients. The effect of LNM, as well as other prognostic factors, on recurrence-free and overall survival was analyzed. Results: Median overall survival was 32 months, and 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival were 86, 35, and 18%, respectively. Five patients were alive and disease-free at last follow-up. Survival was associated with location of LNM. Specifically, 5-year overall survival was 30% among patients with LNM along the hepatoduodenal ligament/retropancreatic area (area 1), 14% among patients with LNM along the common hepatic artery/celiac axis (area 2), and there was only one long-term survivor who experienced recurrent disease among patients who had CLM + para-aortic LNM (area 3) (P = 0.004). On multivariate analyses, overall margin status (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.0), treated number of metastases >6 (HR = 2.3) and para-aortic lymph node involvement (HR = 2.6) each remained significantly associated with increased risk of death (all P < 0.05). Conclusions: Although overall survival in the setting of LNM is only 18%, certain subsets of patients with LNM can benefit from surgical resection. Specifically, patients with CLM + LNM isolated to area 1 had a 5-year survival of approximately 30%, while long-term survival among patients with para-aortic LNM was rare.
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