Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Catherine Alix-Panabieres
  • Klaus Pantel
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_3724-2


Micrometastases were originally defined by pathologists as small occult metastases (<0.2 cm in greatest dimension). With the recent development of more sensitive diagnostic tools, such as immunocytochemistry and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the term has been used more liberally in the literature. It now includes isolated disseminated tumor cells (DTC) present in the peripheral blood or in a secondary organ (in particular bone marrow) or in a lymph node, classified as “tumor-free” by conventional histopathological analysis. Considering the different biology of true micrometastases and isolated DTC, both types of findings should be distinguished.


Detection Techniques

During the past decade, sensitive techniques have been developed that allow now the detection of DTC in the blood and bone marrow (BM) at the single cell level. DTC must be separated from billions of erythrocytes and millions of leucocytes present in the blood and bone marrow sample. For this...


Sentinel Lymph Node Lymph Edema Disseminate Tumor Cell Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection Tumor Cell Dissemination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Alix-Panabieres
    • 1
  • Klaus Pantel
    • 2
  1. 1.University Medical Center, Lapeyronie HospitalMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Universitäts-Krankenhaus EppendorfHamburgGermany