The most important factor affecting the outcome of patients with invasive cancers 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 methods routinely employed (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)229-242
Number of pages14
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2001


  • Bone marrow
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymph nodes
  • Micrometastasis
  • Occult metastasis
  • Prognostic significance
  • RT-PCR


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