The value of bone marrow biopsy in breast cancer at the time of first relapse. A prospective study

G. Ceci, V. Franciosi, R. Passalacqua, B. Di Blasio, C. Boni, R. Lottici, V. De Lisi, R. Nizzoli, A. Guazzi, G. Cocconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The value of bone marrow biopsy (BMB) in advanced breast cancer at the time of first relapse was studied in a prospective manner. Bone marrow biopsy was performed in 142 consecutive unselected metastatic patients: 129 at the time of first recurrence, and 13 in patients with metastases at the time of first diagnosis. Overall, BMB was positive in 32 patients (23%). In the group with negative bone x-ray, it was positive in two patients of 84 (2%); both of them had doubtful scan. In the group with positive x-ray, BMB resulted positive in 30 of 58 (52%). There was a significant correlation between number of bone segments radiologically involved and BMB positivity rate, ranging from 15% in the patients with only one, to 68% in those with more than three sites involved (P = 0.02). Patients with x-ray evidence of metastases in the pelvis had significantly higher rate of BMB positivity (67% versus 32%; P = 0.02). The median survival time from the first relapse was 153 weeks in BMB-negative cases and 149 in positive ones. Considering only the patients with demonstration of bone invasion obtained with either or both x-ray and BMB, 34/62 patients had positive BMB (55%). In these cases BMB was found more often positive in patients 50 years or younger than in patients older than 50 years (80% versus 47%; P = 0.05); the median survival time was longer, but not significantly, in BMB-positive patients than in negative ones (149 weeks versus 119; P = 0.3). The authors conclude that BMB is not required in common restaging procedure when both bone survey and scan are negative. Bone marrow biopsy results are more often positive in younger patients and survival is not negatively affected by bone marrow invasion as diagnosed by BMB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1045
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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