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Referral patterns of patients with liver metastases due to colorectal cancer for resection.INTRODUCTION: Colorectal carcinoma accounts for 10% of cancer deaths in the Western World, with the liver being the most common site of distant metastases. Resection of liver metastases is the treatment of choice, with a 5-year survival rate of 35%. However, only 5-10% of patients are suitable for resection at presentation. AIMS: To examine the referral pattern of patients with liver metastases to a specialist hepatic unit for resection. METHODOLOGY: Retrospective review of patient's charts diagnosed with colorectal liver metastases over a 10-year period. RESULTS: One hundred nine (38 women, 71 men) patients with liver metastases were included, mean age 61 years; 79 and 30 patients had synchronous and metachronus metastases, respectively. Ten criteria for referral were identified; the referral rate was 8.25%, with a resection rate of 0.9%. Forty two percent of the patients had palliative chemotherapy; 42% had symptomatic treatment. CONCLUSION: This study highlights the advanced stage of colorectal cancer at presentation; in light of modern evidence-based, centre-oriented therapy of liver metastasis, we conclude that criteria of referral for resection should be based on the availability of treatment modalities.