Impact and clinical usefulness of genetic data in the surgical management of colorectal cancer liver metastasis

Georgios Antonios Margonis, Martin E. Kreis, Jaeyun Jane Wang, Carsten Kamphues, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Matthew J. Weiss


In patients who undergo surgery for colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRLM), a number of somatic mutations have been associated with worse overall (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). Although useful, an association with prognosis does not necessarily equate to an impact on surgical management. In this review, we investigate whether the best-studied somatic mutations impact surgical management of CRLM by informing: (I) post-hepatectomy surveillance; (II) selection of surgical technique; (III) selection of optimal margin width; and (IV) selection of patients for surgery. Lastly, we discuss the refinement of genetic data from overall mutation status to specific variants, as well as lesser studied somatic mutations. We conclude that genetic data may impact surgical management of CRLM in three ways. Firstly, KRAS mutations can predict lung recurrences. Secondly, KRAS mutations may help tailor both margin width and surgical technique. Lastly, using genetic data to guide surgical selection remains elusive, as the data cannot support denying surgery to patients according to their somatic mutation profile.