Journal Article
. 2001 Dec; 7(12):4122-9.

Detection of isolated tumor cells in bone marrow in early-stage breast carcinoma patients: comparison with preoperative clinical parameters and primary tumor characteristics

B Naume 1 E Borgen  G Kvalheim  R Kåresen  H Qvist  T Sauer  T Kumar  J M Nesland  
  • PMID: 11751511
  •     22 citations


Unlabelled: PURPOSE/EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The importance of detection of disseminated isolated tumor cells (ITCs) in bone marrow (BM) is still not settled. BM aspirates from 920 patients with primary breast cancer were analyzed for tumor cells by standardized direct immunocytochemical analysis (ICC) of 2 x 10(6) mononuclear cells (MNCs) using anticytokeratin monoclonal antibody (AE1/AE3). Samples (637) were analyzed by negative immunomagnetic enrichment (IMS) followed by ICC (10 x 10(6) MNCs). Analyses of the primary tumor specimens have been performed, including histomorphology, tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging, grading, and immunohistochemical analyses.

Results: Of the patients with infiltrating carcinoma, 63% were node negative (N0) and 33%, node positive (N+). The results show the presence of tumor cells in 13.4% of the evaluable patients after direct ICC analysis. The presence of tumor cells correlated to the nodal- and tumor stage, showing BM positivity in 9.9% of the N0 cases and 20.6% in the N+ group (P < 0.0005), 11.2% of the stage T(1) were positive, and 15.0% and 22.6% were positive in the T(2) and T(3/4) groups, respectively (P = 0.013). No correlation between detection of ITC and detection of p53 and cathepsin D expression was found. Vascular invasion and c-erbB2 expression were associated with ITCs in BM (P = 0.045 and P = 0.024, respectively). Node-negative patients with estrogen receptor (ER)+ and/or progesterone receptor (PgR)+ tumors had lower frequency of ITCs than ER-/PgR- (P = 0.004). The use of negative IMS increased the frequency of positive BM by 63% (P < 0.0005).

Conclusions: The direct ICC detection of ITCs in BM correlated with primary tumor stage, nodal stage, vascular invasion, c-erbB2 expression, and ER/PgR status. Analysis of larger BM samples by negative IMS resulted in increased number of ITC-positive patients.

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