Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Influence of two different resection techniques (conventional liver resection versus anterior approach) of liver metastases from colorectal cancer on hematogenous tumor cell dissemination – prospective randomized multicenter trial

T Schmidt, M Koch, D Antolovic, C Reissfelder, FH Schmitz-Winnenthal, NN Rahbari, J Schmidt, CM Seiler, MW Büchler and J Weitz*

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

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BMC Surgery 2008, 8:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-6

Published: 5 March 2008



Surgical hepatic resection remains the treatment of choice for patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer despite the use of alternative therapeutic strategies. Although this procedure provides long-term survival in a significant number of patients, 50–75% of the patients develop intra- and/or extrahepatic recurrence. One possible reason for tumor recurrence may be intraoperative hematogenous tumor cell dissemination due to mechanical manipulation of the tumor during hepatic resection. Surgical technique may have an influence on hematogenous tumor cell spread. We hypothesize that hematogenous tumor cell dissemination may be reduced by using the anterior approach technique compared to conventional liver resection.


This is a multi-centre prospective randomized controlled, superiority trial to compare two liver resection techniques of liver metastases from colorectal cancer. 150 patients will be included and randomized intraoperatively after surgical exploration just prior to resection. The primary objective is to compare the anterior approach with the conventional liver resection technique with regard to intraoperative haematogenous tumor cell dissemination. As secondary objectives we examine five year survival rates (OS and DFS), blood loss, duration of operation, requirement of blood transfusions, morbidity rate, prognostic relevance of tumor cell detection in blood and bone marrow and the comparison of tumor cell detection by different detection methods.


This trial will answer the question whether there is an advantage for the anterior approach technique compared to the conventional resection group with regard to tumor cell dissemination. It will also add further information about prognostic differences, safety, advantages and disadvantages of each technique.

Trial registration

Current controlled trials – ISRCTN45066244