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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2019, Article ID 6280347, 6 pages
Review Article

Liver Metastases and Histological Growth Patterns: Biological Behavior and Potential Clinical Implications—Another Path to Individualized Medicine?

1Pathology Department, Centro Hospitalar e Univeristário de Coimbra, 3000-075, Coimbra, Portugal
2Biophysics Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
3Coimbra Institute for Clinical and Biomedical Research (iCBR) area of Environment Genetics and Oncobiology (CIMAGO), Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
4Surgery Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, 3000-075, Coimbra, Portugal
5Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, 3000-548, Coimbra, Portugal

Correspondence should be addressed to Rui Caetano Oliveira; moc.liamtoh@arievilocordepiur

Received 3 August 2018; Revised 24 December 2018; Accepted 12 February 2019; Published 25 February 2019

Academic Editor: Akira Hara

Copyright © 2019 Rui Caetano Oliveira 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.


Colorectal cancer is a major health burden and despite the recent advances in healthcare and screening programs, a great percentage of patients already present metastases once their disease is found. In those cases, liver surgery has an essential role, but even with neoadjuvant chemotherapy there is a high rate of intrahepatic recurrence. New prognostic factors are needed in order to decide the best surgical approach considering the biological behavior of the tumors in order to tailor the used therapies, moving towards individualized medicine/treatment. However, the majority of the factors described in literature are expensive, time consuming, and difficult to apply on a daily basis. Histological growth patterns have emerged over the past few years as a reproducible characteristic, an easy to apply one, and with very low costs since it only needs the standard Haematoxylin and Eosin stained slides of observation. In this article, we provide a review of the histological growth patterns of liver metastases and their prognostic significance, biological meaning, and therapeutic importance.