What is Metastasectomy?
In oncology, metastasectomy is the surgical removal of metastases, which are secondary cancerous growths that have spread from cancer originating in another organ in the body.
In many cases, metastases are not treated surgically. There are two common reasons for this. Often, even with a successful surgery the patient would have a poor prognosis. If the cancer is widely disseminated, it is likely that after surgical removal of all known metastases, new ones would occur elsewhere. Sometimes, surgery itself would have a low likelihood of success due to the location and/or extensiveness of the cancer. If complete surgical excision is feasible, however, removing both the primary cancer and its metastases may substantially improve the patient's prognosis. Some patients may even be in effect cured.
The use of metastasectomy evolved in the field of liver resection for metastasised colorectal cancer, but has evolved to include resection of metastases from different primary cancers (such as breast cancer, melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, etc.) to the lungs, brain, and other organs. Not all of these applications are equally evidence-based, although with respect to some other primary cancers metastasectomy may be underutilized.