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The study of minimal residual disease in breast cancer patients: a review

Author(s): Patricia Weinschenker Bollmann | Ana Rita Burgos de Araújo Manhani | Fernando Luiz Affonso Fonseca | Roberta Sitnik | Rubia Ferraz Santana | Auro del Giglio

Journal: Einstein
ISSN 1679-4508

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 497;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Breast neoplasms/diagnosis | Neoplasm | residual | Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction | Immunohistochemistry | Prognosis

The term minimal residual disease or micrometastasis refers to thepresence of some tumor cells in normal tissues that cannot be detectedby conventional methods, such as clinical examination, imagingmethods, or routine laboratory analyses. Investigation of minimalresidual disease in patients with breast cancer is currently done byassessment of the bone marrow or peripheral blood of these patientsin search of epithelial cells by immunocytochemical or moleculartechniques, such as RT-PCR. Cytogenetic and molecular studies havedemonstrated that these cells also harbor chromosome changessimilar to tumors present in patients and its consistent associationwith a worse prognosis in breast cancer patients reinforces itsimportance in the metastatic process. It will be briefly discussed thetheoretical bases for detection of minimal residual disease and therecent studies that allow to know some of the molecular and cellularcharacteristics of these disseminated malignant cells. This articlewill be finalized with a discussion on the most recent studies onthe prognostic value of minimal residual disease detection in breastcancer patients and future directions for research in this area.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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