Molecular signature associated with bone marrow micrometastasis in human breast cancer

Ute Woelfle, Jacqueline Cloos, Guido Sauter, Lutz Riethdorf, Fritz Jänicke, Paul Van Diest, Ruud Brakenhoff, Klaus Pantel

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201 Citations (Scopus)


Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-related death, and bone marrow (BM) is a prominent metastatic site in solid tumors. Here, we focused on the onset of metastasis, using BM as an indicator organ for micrometastatic tumor cells in breast cancer patients without overt metastases (tumor-node-metastasis stage M0). Expression analysis with cDNA arrays showed distinct profiles between primary tumors from BM-positive and BM-negative patients. The differentially expressed genes are involved in extracellular matrix remodeling, adhesion, cytoskeleton plasticity, and signal transduction (in particular RAS and hypoxia-inducible factor la pathway). The BM signature was mainly characterized by transcriptional repression and different from the expression signature associated with lymphatic metastasis. Thus, BM micrometastasis is a selective process with a specific molecular signature of the primary tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5679-5684
Number of pages6
JournalCancer research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2003

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