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Intrahepatic or Systemic Infusion of Fluorodeoxyuridine in Patients with Liver Metastases from Colorectal Carcinoma: A Randomized Trial

NANCY KEMENY, M.D.; JOHN DALY, M.D.; BONNIE REICHMAN, M.D.; NANCY GELLER, Ph.D.; JOSÉ BOTET, M.D.; and PAULA ODERMAN, R.N.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: by grant CA 05826-25 from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Nancy Kemeny, M.D.; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue; New York, NY 10021.


New York, New York


Ann Intern Med. 1987;107(4):459-465. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-107-4-459
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Objective: To compare the efficacy of direct hepatic arterial chemotherapy with systemic chemotherapy in patients with liver metastases from colorectal carcinoma.

Design: Randomized trial with crossover allowed from systemic to intrahepatic therapy if tumor progression occurred on systemic therapy.

Setting: Academic medical center, referral-based clinic.

Patients: One hundred sixty-two patients with hepatic metastases from colorectal carcinoma agreed to be randomly assigned to treatment groups. At laparotomy, 63 were excluded from the study: 25 had hepatic resection; 33, extrahepatic disease; 1, infection; and 4, no tumor.

Intervention: Fourteen-day continuous infusion of fluorodeoxyuridine each month using an Infusaid pump (0.3 and 0.15 mg/kg body weight d in the intrahepatic and systemic arms, respectively).

Main Results: Intrahepatic therapy produced a significantly higher complete and partial response rate, 50%, compared with 20% for systemic therapy (p = 0. 001). After tumor progression, 60% of the systemic patients crossed over to intrahepatic therapy; 25% then had a partial response, and 33% a minor response or stabilization of disease on intrahepatic therapy.

Toxicity included ulcer disease (17%) and biliary sclerosis (8%) in patients receiving intrahepatic therapy and diarrhea (70%) in patients receiving systemic therapy. Extrahepatic disease occurred in 56% and 37% of the patients in the intrahepatic and systemic groups, respectively (p = 0.092). The median survivals were 17 and 12 months, for the intrahepatic and systemic groups, respectively.

Conclusion: When compared with systemic therapy, hepatic arterial chemotherapy significantly increases response rate for hepatic metastases from colorectal carcinoma and appears to be a more effective treatment.

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