DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) is a non-invasive breast cancer. Many issues about how best to treat DCIS are under study. These include ways to predict which cases of DCIS will progress to invasive breast cancer (to target treatment to those who are at higher risk) and which women may not need radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS.
After discussing the benefits and risks with your health care provider, we encourage you to consider joining a clinical trial of a new treatment for DCIS.
BreastCancerTrials.org in collaboration with Susan G. Komen offers a custom matching service that can help you find a clinical trial that fits your health needs.
Learn more about clinical trials.
Hormone receptor testing of DCIS tumors is becoming more common.
The benefits of tamoxifen appear limited to hormone receptor-positive (estrogen receptor-positive and/or progesterone receptor-positive) DCIS [2,6,12].
Learn more about hormone receptor status and invasive breast cancer.
Women with hormone receptor-positive DCIS may benefit from hormone therapy. At this time, tamoxifen is the only hormone therapy used to treat hormone receptor-positive DCIS.
The use of aromatase inhibitors (instead of tamoxifen) for DCIS treatment is under study .
Learn more about aromatase inhibitors.
For women with early breast cancer, radiation therapy is given after lumpectomy (also called breast conserving surgery). However, there are questions about the need for radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS.
Radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS decreases the risk of DCIS recurrence, and possibly the risk of invasive breast cancer . Overall survival is the same for women with DCIS who have lumpectomy with or without radiation therapy [2,4].
Select women with smaller, lower-grade DCIS and clean surgical margins may be able to have lumpectomy without radiation therapy [2,9]. However, which women might be able to avoid radiation therapy is still under study.
For a summary of research studies on lumpectomy plus radiation therapy as a treatment for DCIS, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
Oncotype Dx is a test that helps predict the chance of metastasis (when cancer spreads to other organs) for some invasive breast cancers. It tests a sample of the tumor (removed during a biopsy or surgery) for a group of 21 genes.
The Oncotype DX test for invasive breast cancer has been modified to help predict the chance that DCIS will return as DCIS or invasive breast cancer . This could help identify which cases of DCIS would benefit most from radiation therapy after lumpectomy (and which women might be treated with lumpectomy alone) .
The Oncotype Dx test for DCIS needs further study and is not part of standard practice at this time.
Learn more about Oncotype DX for invasive breast cancer.
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*Please note, the information provided within Komen Perspectives articles is only current as of the date of posting. Therefore, some information may be out of date at this time.
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