Background Owing to expanded surgical indications for colorectal liver metastasis (CRLM) and improved systemic therapy, hepatic surgeons are increasingly faced with the problem of disappearing (no longer visible on imaging) liver metastasis (DLM). Methods A review of relevant studies was performed. Studies that reported on DLM associated with preoperative chemotherapy for CRLM were identified, and data were synthesized and tabulated. The PubMed database was searched for relevant articles published between January 2000 and December 2012. Results A complete response on imaging does not necessarily equate with a complete clinical or pathological response. Rather, residual macroscopic disease is found in about 25-45 per cent of patients at the time of operation. Even among patients with a complete pathological response, long-term remission occurs in only 20-50 per cent of those treated with systemic therapy. A durable response of DLM is more common following the use of hepatic artery infusion therapy. Conclusion Liver resection should include all original sites of disease if possible.
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