Background: Liver resection for metastatic colorectal cancer became established without randomized trials. Proponents of surgical resection point out 5-year survival approaching 50% whilst critics question how much of the apparent effect is due to patient selection. Method: A 2006 systematic review of reported outcomes provided the starting point for citation analysis followed by thematic analysis of the texts of the most cited papers. Results: 54 reports from 1988 to 2002 cited 709 unique publications a total of 1714 times. The 15 most cited papers were explored in detail, and showed clear examples of duplicate reporting and overlapping data sets. Textual analysis revealed proposals for a randomized controlled trial, but this was argued to be unethical by others, and no trial was undertaken. Conclusions: This critical review reveals how the case for this surgery was made, and examines the arguments that influenced acceptance and adoption of this surgery.

Colorectal, Evidence, Liver,
Critical Reviews in Oncology / Hematology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Grunhagen, D.J, Jones, R.P, Treasure, T, Vasilakis, C, & Poston, L. (2013). The history of adoption of hepatic resection for metastatic colorectal cancer: 1984-95. Critical Reviews in Oncology / Hematology (Vol. 86, pp. 222–231). doi:10.1016/j.critrevonc.2012.10.007