Table of Contents
HPB Surgery
Volume 2008, Article ID 684150, 10 pages
Review Article

Management of the Hepatic Lymph Nodes during Resection of Liver Metastases from Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review

University Department of Surgery, UCL and Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, Royal Free and University College School of Medicine, London NW3 2QG, UK

Received 7 March 2007; Accepted 22 June 2007

Academic Editor: Olivier Farges

Copyright © 2008 Kurinchi S. Gurusamy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Hepatic lymph node involvement is generally considered a contraindication for liver resection performed for colorectal liver metastases. However, some advocate hepatic lymphadenectomy in the presence of macroscopic involvement and others routine lymphadenectomy. The aim of this review is to assess the role of lymphadenectomy in resection of liver metastases from colorectal cancer. Methods. Medline, Embase and Central databases were searched using a formal search strategy. Trials with survival data with a minimum follow-up of 1 year were considered for inclusion. Meta-analysis was performed using Revman. Results. A total of 4230 references were identified. Ten reports of nine studies including 926 patients qualified for the review. The prevalence of nodal metastases after routine lymphadenectomy was 16.3%. The overall 3-year and 5-year survival rates in node-positive patients were 9/151 (11.3%) and 2/137 (1.5%), respectively, compared to 3-year and 5-year survival rates of 424/787 (53.9%) and 246/767 (32.1%) in node-negative patients. The odds ratios for 3-year and 5-year survivals in node positive disease compared to node-negative disease were 0.12 (95% CI 0.06 to 0.24) and 0.08 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.22). There was no randomized controlled trial which assessed the survival benefit of routine or “selective” lymphadenectomy. Conclusion. Currently, there is no evidence of survival benefit for routine or selective lymphadenectomy. Survival rates are low in patients with positive lymph nodes draining the liver irrespective of whether they are detected by routine lymphadenectomy or by macroscopic involvement. Further trials in this patient group are required.