In patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) liver metastases, neoadjuvant FOLFOX (fluorouracil, leucovorin, oxaliplatin) chemotherapy positively influenced a local immune response that is associated with improved pathological response and progression-free survival, a new study published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Cancer has shown.1

For the study, researchers sought to investigate whether the immune response in colorectal liver metastases is related to progression-free survival and if this effect is impacted by systemic therapy.

Researchers analyzed tumor tissue and immune response profiles for 82 patients with colorectal liver metastases who were treated with either resection alone or resection with perioperative FOLFOX chemotherapy.

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In response to chemotherapy, researchers observed increased CD3+ lymphocyte and mast cell counts inside the tumor, reduced CD4+ lymphocytes in the normal liver tissue, and lower macrophage counts in normal tissue and at the tumor border.

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Results showed that immune responses of CD3+ lymphocytes and mast cells (P=0.03) and a high T-cell score (P=0.04) were associated with an improved pathological response and a significantly better progression-free survival.

The findings suggest that high CD3+ lymphocytes at the tumor front and intratumoral mast cells are prognostic for patients with CRC liver metastases.


  1. Tanis E, Julié C, Emile J-F, et al. Prognostic impact of immune response in resectable colorectal liver metastases treated by surgery alone or surgery with perioperative FOLFOX in the randomised EORTC study 40983. [published online ahead of print September 2, 2015]. Eur J Cancer. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2015.08.014.