Evaluation of a RT-PCR based routine screening tool for the detection of disseminated epithelial cells in the bone marrow of breast cancer patients

  • Sven Becker
  • Graziella Becker-Pergola
  • Malgorzata Banys
  • Natalia Krawczyk
  • Diethelm Wallwiener
  • Erich Solomayer
  • Christina Schuetz
  • Tanja Fehm
Preclinical Study

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-008-0174-3

Cite this article as:
Becker, S., Becker-Pergola, G., Banys, M. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2009) 117: 227. doi:10.1007/s10549-008-0174-3

Abstract

Purpose Numerous studies have shown that the presence of clinically occult disseminated tumor cells (DTC’s) in the bone marrow (BM) of breast cancer patients is associated with an unfavourable clinical outcome. Immunocytochemistry (ICC) remains the gold standard for their detection. While assays based on RT-PCR are available, they have not been used for routine detection of DTC’s. Methods To assess the quality of the assay, we performed a direct comparison of DTC detection rates in a large cohort of 385 patients using both standardized ICC and real-time RT-PCR protocols. Correlation rates were assessed, and results were compared with clinical data. Results A significant correlation between ICC and RT-PCR was observed (P < 0.01). Positivity rates were similar (both 35%) and the results of both methods agreed in 73% of cases (280/385). Conclusions We describe a real-time RT-PCR based protocol for DTC-detection that has been specifically designed for routine clinical laboratory use. As such, RT-PCR has the potential to become an alternative testing method for BM evaluation in breast cancer patients.

Keywords

Disseminated tumor cells Immunocytochemistry Minimal residual disease Bone marrow Breast cancer RT-PCR 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Becker
    • 1
  • Graziella Becker-Pergola
    • 1
  • Malgorzata Banys
    • 1
  • Natalia Krawczyk
    • 1
  • Diethelm Wallwiener
    • 1
  • Erich Solomayer
    • 1
  • Christina Schuetz
    • 1
  • Tanja Fehm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gynaecology and ObstetricsUniversity Hospital TuebingenTuebingenGermany

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