Background The impact of prehepatectomy carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels in the era of modern chemotherapy and expanded surgical indications for colorectal liver metastasis (CRLM) remains not well defined. Methods 484 patients were identified and divided into two groups by surgical time period (group 1: 2000–2007 vs. group 2: 2008–2015). The prognostic significance of pre-hepatectomy CEA was determined by assessing the HRs associated with various cut-off levels ranging from 5 to 200 ng/mL. Results Median CRLM number was comparable in both groups (group 1: 2 vs. group 2: 2, P = 0.504). Bilobar disease was more frequent in group 2 (30.1% vs. 42.5%, P = 0.006). The administration of modern chemotherapy and/or biologic agents increased over time (49.5% vs. 67.9%, P < 0.001). Preoperative CEA independently predicted OS in group 1, even with a cut-off as low as >5 ng/mL. However, in group 2 it predicted recurrence and survival only after exceeding 70 and 50 ng/mL, respectively. Of note, in group 2, CEA was strongly associated with survival when CEA levels exceeded 70 ng/mL (HR 4.84). Conclusions While pre-hepatectomy CEA level may still have prognostic utility in CRLM resection, the optimal cut-off value has increased in the era of modern chemotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas