Detection of occult metastasis in patients with breast cancer

Debra Hawes, A. Munro Neville, Richard J. Cote

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The most important factor affecting the outcome of patients with invasive cancer is whether the tumor has spread, either regionally (to regional lymph nodes) or systemically. However, a proportion of patients with no evidence of systemic dissemination will develop recurrent disease after primary "curative" therapy. Clearly, these patients had occult systemic spread of disease that was undetectable by routinely employed methods (careful pathological, clinical, biochemical, and radiological evaluation). In addition, the success of adjuvant therapy is assumed to stem from its ability to eradicate occult metastases before they become clinically evident [1]. Therefore, methods for the detection of occult metastases in patients with the earliest stage of cancer, i.e., prior to detection of metastases by any other clinical or pathological analysis, have received a great deal of attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-318
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Surgical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Bone marrow
  • Breast cancer
  • Lymph nodes
  • Occult metastases
  • Prognosis


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