In this study, we examine the prevalence of finding isolated tumor cells (ITCs) in negative lymph nodes of endometrial cancer patients using immunohistochemistry. Seventy-six endometrial cancer patients with lymph nodes histologically negative for metastatic disease were examined. Nodal tissue sections were stained with anticytokeratin antibodies AE-1 and CAM 5.2. Nodes with single or groups of cells (two to four cells) ≤0.2 mm and showing cytokeratin reactivity were positive for ITCs. Findings were compared to features of the primary tumor and patient outcome. ITCs were present in 31 of 1712 lymph nodes. Fifteen (19.7%) patients had ITC-positive nodes. ITCs involved only pelvic nodes in nine cases, only para-aortic nodes in five cases, and pelvic and para-aortic in one case. Tumor in adnexa was the only pathologic feature associated with nodal ITCs (P = 0.0485). All 15 patients with nodal ITCs were alive at follow-up. One (6.7%) patient suffered recurrent disease but was alive at last encounter. Disease recurred in 5 (8.8%) of 57 patients without nodal ITCs. Two are alive without disease, two alive with disease, and one died from her cancer. In summary, a significant proportion of endometrial cancer patients have ITCs detected by immunohistochemistry in histologically negative regional lymph nodes.
- endometrial adenocarcinoma
- isolated tumor cells
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