The relationship between micrometastases in the bone marrow, histopathologic features of the primary tumor in breast cancer and prognosis

Am J Clin Pathol. 1988 Jul;90(1):1-6. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/90.1.1.


The pathologic features of the primary tumors in 285 patients with breast cancer at the time of initial presentation, and with no clinical evidence of distant metastases, have been analyzed. The results have been compared with the detection of tumor cells in the bone marrow by use of an immunocytochemical method using antisera raised against the epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). The authors found EMA-positive cells (i.e., tumor cells) in the bone marrow of 77 (27%) patients and a significant association between the presence of such EMA-positive cells in the bone marrow and tumor size (P = 0.006) and peritumoral vascular invasion (P = less than 0.001). A possible relationship with estrogen receptor negativity (P = 0.06) also was noted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Bone Marrow*
  • Bone Neoplasms / immunology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Breast Neoplasms / analysis
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucin-1
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Mucin-1
  • Receptors, Estrogen