BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer liver metastases respond to chemotherapy and targeted agents not only by shrinking, but also by morphologic and metabolic changes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the value of advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods in predicting treatment response and survival. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We investigated contrast-enhanced MRI, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in diffusion-weighted imaging and 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in detecting early morphologic and metabolic changes in borderline or resectable liver metastases, as a response to first-line neoadjuvant or conversion therapy in a prospective substudy of the RAXO trial (NCT01531621, EudraCT2011-003158-24). MRI findings were compared with histology of resected liver metastases and Kaplan-Meier estimates of overall survival (OS). RESULTS: In 2012-2018, 52 patients at four Finnish university hospitals were recruited. Forty-seven patients received neoadjuvant or conversion chemotherapy and 40 liver resections were carried out. Low ADC values (below median) of the representative liver metastases, at baseline and after systemic therapy, were associated with partial response according to RECIST criteria, but not with morphologic MRI changes or histology. Decreasing ADC values following systemic therapy were associated with improved OS compared to unchanged or increasing ADC, both in the liver resected subgroup (5-year OS rate 100% and 34%, respectively, P = 0.022) and systemic therapy subgroup (5-year OS rate 62% and 23%, P = 0.049). 1H-MRS revealed steatohepatosis induced by systemic therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Low ADC values at baseline or during systemic therapy were associated with treatment response by RECIST but not with histology, morphologic or detectable metabolic changes. A decreasing ADC during systemic therapy is associated with improved OS both in all patients receiving systemic therapy and in the resected subgroup.