Article first published online: 29 JUN 2006


The possibility of using immunologic methods for detecting metastatic cells in bone marrow samples from breast cancer patients was investigated. The MBr1 monoclonal antibody, which recognizes a membrane antigen on breast carcinoma cells and is unreactive on normal bone marrow cells, seemed to be an adequate reagent for this kind of approach. When human leukocyte suspensions artificially contaminated with mammary tumor cells were tested by MBr1 immunofluorescence, it was demonstrated that the added tumor cells could be specifically discriminated from normal cells and that as little as one tumor cell in 200,000 could be detected. With the same methodology we screened bone marrow biopsies from breast cancer patients with apparently uninvolved lymph nodes at the moment of surgery. Immunoreactive tumor cells were detected by the MBr1 antibody in 17% of N- patients. None of the bone marrow samples showed any evidence of tumor involvement by conventional histologic analysis.


  1. Giuliana Porro PhD1,
  2. Sylvie MA�nard PhD1,
  3. Elda Tagliabue PhD1,
  4. Sergio Orefice MD1,
  5. Bruno Salvadori MD1,
  6. Paolo Squicciarini MD , zithromax without prescription. 1,
  7. Salvatore Andreola MD2,
  8. Franco Rilke MD2,
  9. Maria I. Colnaghi PHD*

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