Resection of colorectal liver metastases (CLM) in selected patients has evolved as the standard of care during the last 20 years. In the absence of prospective randomized clinical trials, a survival benefit has been deduced relative to historical controls based on actuarial data. There is now sufficient follow-up on a significant number of patients to address the curative intent of resecting CLM. Retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was performed on patients who underwent resection of CLM from 1985 to 1994. Postoperative deaths were excluded. Disease-specific survival (DSS) was calculated from the time of hepatectomy using the Kaplan-Meier method. There were 612 consecutive patients identified with 10-year follow-up. Median DSS was 44 months. There were 102 actual 10-year survivors. Ninety-nine (97%) of the 102 were disease free at last follow-up. Only one patient experienced a disease-specific death after 10 years of survival. In contrast, 34% of the 5-year survivors suffered a cancer-related death. Previously identified poor prognostic factors found among the 102 actual 10-year survivors included 7% synchronous disease, 36% disease-free interval less than 12 months, 25% bilobar metastases, 50% node-positive primary, 39% more than one metastasis, and 35% tumor size more than 5 cm. Patients who survive 10 years appear to be cured of their disease, whereas approximately one third of actual 5-year survivors succumb to a cancer-related death. In well-selected patients, there is at least a one in six chance of cure after hepatectomy for CLM. The presence of poor prognostic factors does not preclude the possibility of long-term survival and cure.