CLEVELAND, OH (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than 50 percent of patients with colorectal cancer will develop liver metastases, and while the standard treatment is liver surgery, only one third of patients are candidates. Now a new protocol is opening the door for another option.
Carole Motycka loves hiking and traveling with her four sons and husband. But when she went to the ER for shoulder pain, the doctor found something else …
“And he said I believe your liver is full of tumors. He said in my right lobe there were just too many to count,” Motycka told Ivanhoe.
Motycka was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer that had spread to her liver. Doctors had to install a pump that delivered chemo straight to the liver.
“The side effects of this pump, that can kill the cancer, but can also cause some damage to the biliary tree. And as a result Carole developed liver failure,” said Cristiano Quintini, M.D., Director of the Liver Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic.
Cleveland clinic researchers have developed a new protocol to treat liver metastases. For the first time, patients with this condition can receive a transplant.
“There’s a huge survival advantage by adding liver transplantation as a treatment option for those patients,” Dr. Quintini said.
Motycka’s church put a note in the bulletin about her need for a donor … and like a miracle, Jason Stechschulte, a man from church she barely knew, offered up part of his liver.
“Carole usually sits with her family right over there,” said Stechschulte.
“I didn’t know that I would get to see Drew graduate from high school, but I get that opportunity now, because of what Jason has given to me,” Motycka said.
Both recovered quickly, and Stechschulte is back doing what he loves.
Stechschulte shared, “Everything’s back to normal, but now somebody else gets that chance to also be perfectly fine and be normal again.”
Motycka and Stechschulte’s families are now great friends. The results of a study from Norway showed that liver transplantation helped colorectal cancer patients with liver metastases who were not candidates for liver surgery achieve a five-year survival rate of 60 percent. Dr. Quintini says that about 25 percent of the patients that are placed on the liver transplant waiting list around the country die without ever being offered an organ.
Contributors to this news report include: Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Robert Walko, Editor.
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TOPIC: NEW HOPE WHEN COLON CANCER SPREADS
REPORT: MB #4510
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, rectal cancer, or colon cancer, is any cancer that affects the rectum and the colon. Colorectal cancer can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant. Malignant cancer can spread to other parts of the body and damage them. Symptoms of colorectal cancer include diarrhea, constipation, or changes in bowl habits, blood in feces that makes the stool look black, bright red blood coming from the rectal area, pain and bloating of the abdomen, fatigue and tiredness, unexplained weight loss, even sudden unexplained iron deficiency in men or in post-menopausal women. To reach a colorectal cancer diagnosis, your doctor may consider the following factors when choosing how to test; your signs and symptoms, age, medical and family history, or results of an earlier medical test. In addition to physical examination, the following tests may be used to diagnose; colonoscopy, biopsy, molecular tumor test, blood tests, CT or CAT scan, MRI, Ultrasound, chest X-ray, or PET scan.
TREATMENT: Treatment will depend on several personal factors, including the stage of the cancer, the size, location, whether or not it’s recurrent, and the overall health of the patient. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Surgery is the most common treatment. The affected tumors and nearby lymph nodes will be removed to reduce the risk of spreading, and the bowel is usually sewn back together. Chemotherapy involves using a medicine or chemical to destroy the cancerous cells, and it is commonly used for colon cancer treatment to help shrink the tumor to prepare for surgical removal. Radiation therapy is also an option; using high-energy radiation beams to destroy the cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. Ablation can destroy a tumor without removing it. Carried out using radiofrequency, ethanol, or cryosurgery; all delivered using a probe or needle guided by ultrasound or CT scanning technology.
NEW TREATMENT OPTION: Cleveland Clinic developed a new surgery protocol based on a 2011 pilot study of patients at the University of Oslo in Norway. The study showed liver transplantation helped colorectal cancer patients with unresectable liver metastases achieve a much higher five-year survival rate. Along with the new transplant protocol, to improve patient outcomes by liver transplant for treatment of liver metastases from colorectal cancer, the Liver Cancer Program incorporated a hepatic artery chemotherapy infusion pump protocol for patients with disease limited to the liver. In addition to systemic chemotherapy, patients receive a chemotherapy pump implanted into the abdominal wall. The pump connects to a catheter that is inserted into one of the arteries that connects to the liver. As a result of infusing chemotherapy directly into the liver, the pump treats liver metastases more effectively by preventing tumor recurrence after surgery or reducing the bulk of the disease so that it can then be removed during surgery. Moving forward they expect both liver transplant and hepatic artery chemotherapy pumps to complement each other, improving not only treatment but long term survival rates of cancer patients.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Caroline Auger, PR
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