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Cancer. 1991 Feb 15;67(4):1033-6.

A comparative analysis of three different techniques for the detection of breast cancer cells in bone marrow.

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Department of Oncology, University of Verona, Italy.


Three different methods, morphologic, immunocytochemic, and fluorescence activated cell sorter (FC) analysis, were compared with respect to their efficiency in detecting breast cancer cells in bone marrow. In the first series of experiments, the three techniques were compared using bone marrow cells artificially mixed with a known amount of breast cancer cells, whereas in a second series bone marrow from breast cancer patients with bone metastases were used. The following results were obtained: When mixtures of the first series were analyzed, FC analysis detected from 1% to 10% of breast cancer cells in bone marrow (0.2% was a border line value), the morphologic method detected from 0.05% to 10%, and the immunocytochemic method, which was clearly superior, detected breast cancer cells in all mixtures (from 0.00025% to 10%). It was noted that, with both the morphologic and immunocytochemic methods, the percentage of breast cancer cells detected was 2 to 360 times higher than the percentage of added cells, and enrichment was inversely proportional to the percentage of added cells. This result could be a result of different separation of cells during centrifugation due to the different density of breast cancer cells. The superiority of the immunocytochemic method was confirmed in the second series of experiments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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