Indexed on: 04 Feb '03Published on: 04 Feb '03Published in: Surgery
Intra-arterial chemotherapy is an effective modality to treat unresectable hepatic metastases from colorectal primaries if systemic chemotherapy has failed. Response rates of more than 40% and a median survival of 15 to 25 months have been reported from randomized trials. In this retrospective study, we analyzed specific technical complications associated with continuous intra-arterial chemotherapy for colorectal liver metastases.From 1982 to 1995, single-center clinical data from 180 patients with colorectal liver metastases were evaluated. Continuous intra-arterial chemotherapy was administered using either an implanted infusion pump or an intra-arterial port with an external infusion pump. The intra-arterial catheter was implanted according to the Watkins' technique. The treatment protocols consisted of 5-fluorouracil- or 5-fluorodeoxyuridine-based regimens.A total of 70 patients (39%) received an intra-arterial infusion pump and 110 patients (61%) an intra-arterial port. Sixty-eight technical complications affected port systems (62%), whereas 29 patients with pumps (41%) were affected by technical complications. Therapy-relevant complications were observed in 47% of the ports and 30% of the infusion pumps. The median complication-free survival was 12.2 months for infusion pumps and 7.3 months for ports (P =.0016).Our data demonstrate that pumps are superior to ports in terms of complication rate and complication-free survival. On the basis of our results, pumps have a potential for a longer treatment, which may result in a prolonged median survival.