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Prostate. 2008 Nov 1;68(15):1607-14. doi: 10.1002/pros.20826.

Disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow following definitive radiotherapy for intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer.

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Norwegian Radium Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.



The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence of disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) in bone marrow (BM) of clinically progression-free prostate cancer (PC) patients at least 2 years after curatively intended radiotherapy (RT) with or without adjuvant hormone treatment.


All patients were T(1-3)N(0)M(0) with intermediate or high risk of progression. Median time from RT to BM sampling was 5 years (2-8). A standardized immunocytochemical method applying the anticytokeratin antibodies AE1/AE3 was used for DTCs detection in 130 patients. Morphological characterization of immunostained cells was performed to exclude false positive cells. The post-treatment BM was explored in relation to pre-treatment risk factors, treatment strategy and serum levels of Testosterone and PSA at the time of BM sampling. Longitudinal changes in BM status were studied in a sub-group of 109 patients who also had donated BM prior to treatment.


Post-treatment BM-aspirates were positive for DTCs in 17% of cases without correlation to any of the tested variables. Out of 14 patients who had DTCs in BM prior to treatment, all but one had become post-treatment negative. Out of 95 patients with pre-treatment negative BM status, 18 (19%) had become post-treatment positive.


DTCs in BM were found in 17% of clinically progression-free PC patients following RT. The detection of these cells may provide PSA-independent prognostic information remaining to be explored by prolonged follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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