Press release

LiMAx test enables better timing of liver surgery for colorectal liver metastatic patients after chemotherapy

Determination of liver function is crucial to assess patient’s eligibility for safe liver resection

Berlin, Germany, November 8, 2016 – Humedics GmbH, a specialist for real-time and mobile measurement of the individual liver function at the bedside of the patient, today announced that two studies show the potential of the LiMAx test to better assess the eligibility of colorectal cancer patients for liver metastases resection after chemotherapy. The LiMAx test was used to explore the effects of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy on liver function.

Combining chemotherapy with subsequent partial liver resection for colorectal liver metastases has shown good results on patient survival. Furthermore, initially inoperable colorectal metastatic disease may be successfully down-staged using neoadjuvant chemotherapeutical regimens and converted into a resectable condition where potentially curative treatment can be offered. However, chemotherapy-induced liver injury is a well-known phenomenon after neoadjuvant therapy of colorectal liver metastases and contributes to postoperative morbidity and mortality. It still remains difficult to ascertain the optimal time interval between cessation of chemotherapy and liver resection. No common guidelines for the optimal timing of liver surgery after the application of systemic chemotherapy have been established and the effects on individual liver function remain unexplored.

Another unmet need for colorectal metastatic patients is also addressed by dedicated researchers and authorities (3). Today, patients with colorectal liver metastases are often being considered for liver resection, but a reliable approach to determine whether the metastasis is resectable is still yet in position. This may cause psychological pressure to the patients and extensive economic burden to the healthcare system. Humedics believes the reported LiMAx studies in liver surgery and systematic chemotherapy in colorectal liver metastasis herald the way to solve these unmet needs.
Two studies with the LiMAx test showed that the liver function of patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases was significantly reduced after chemotherapy treatment due to the toxicity of oxaliplatin-based anti-cancer regimens. Study results also revealed that liver function recovery after cessation of chemotherapy highly varies among the patients and may take four to more than eight weeks until regaining pre-chemotherapy function. The remnant liver function is the key to perform a surgery in such patient. The LiMAx test has the potential to better assess patients scheduled for partial liver resection after chemotherapy.

Erwin de Buijzer, CEO of Humedics GmbH, stated: “The exact determination of chemotherapy-associated liver impairment has been difficult so far. At the same time an evaluation of the liver function is mandatory for a well-founded decision if a patient is eligible for the resection of liver metastases. The recent studies show the potential of our LiMAx test to bridge this critical gap and point out the direction towards a new approach estimating optimal timing of safe liver surgery for colorectal liver metastatic patients.” Researchers are further investigating this point to see if the clinical practice on such disease can be improved with the assistance of LiMAx test.

The LiMAx test, in combination with the corresponding FLIP device and the diagnostic drug offers a clinically proven significant added value for patients with liver diseases and liver surgery. The LiMAx test is already being used in 17 top-tier university clinics in Europe.

1. Effects of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy on liver function - an analysis of impact and functional recovery using the LiMAx test. Jara M, Bednarsch J, Malinowski M, Pratschke J, Stockmann M. Langenbecks Arch Surg 2016; 401(1):33-41.
2. Bednarsch et al. BMC Research Notes (2015) 8:99. DOI 10.1186/s13104-015-1055-6
3. NICE guidelines [CG131]; Colorectal cancer: diagnosis and management;


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About Humedics

Humedics has developed a breath test based in vivo diagnostic system (the LiMAx® test), which comprises a CE-marked medical device, breathing masks and a diagnostic drug. The LiMAx® test enables the clinician to quantitatively determine the individual liver function capacity of a patient within minutes. This allows for selection of treatment strategies and disease monitoring optimally adapted to the individual patients’ liver status. Current clinical applications, studies of which have already been published in highly respected peer-reviewed scientific journals, include diagnosis of the liver function before and after liver transplantation, liver surgery planning (e.g. assessment of the amount of liver to be resected without potentially increasing the risk of acute liver failure) and assessment of diseases such as liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Over 20 trials in new indications such as the diagnosis of chronic liver diseases like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and the improvement of treatment decisions in liver oncology are ongoing. These investigator initiated trials impressively demonstrate the further potential of the LiMAx® test. The LiMAx® test is already being used in over 30 top-tier university clinics across Europe and more than 20,000 tests have already been performed. The LiMAx® test is commercially available in Germany, Austria and the UK.

LiMAx® Test

Based on the specific metabolic action of the liver enzyme CYP1A2, which is expressed in all functioning hepatocytes, performing the LiMAx® test is a simple procedure. The diagnostic drug solution is administered intravenously, and the liver immediately starts to metabolize the drug into low dose paracetamol and 13CO2 (non-radioactive). The latter is exhaled in the breath, collected via a respiratory mask and guided to the LiMAx® system where, within 1-2 minutes following the injection, the LiMAx® IR laser spectroscopy system allows real-time and very precise quantification of the increase in 13CO2 content. The resulting LiMAx® value, measured in micrograms per kilo body weight per hour, is a reliable and repeatable measure of the maximum functional capacity of the liver. 

Humedics Contact:

Humedics GmbH

Dr. Ralf Kohnen

Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders Str. 1

10625 Berlin

Tel.: +49 30 59008 3240 E-mail: