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J Clin Oncol. 2009 Jan 10;27(2):279-88. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.18.3103. Epub 2008 Dec 8.

Ductal carcinoma in situ: state of the science and roadmap to advance the field.

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  • 1The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, DCIS Discovery Program and Department of Surgical Oncology, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Unit 444, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the fourth leading cancer for women in the United States. Understanding of the biology and clinical behavior of DCIS is imperfect. This article highlights the current knowledge base and the scientific roadmap needed to advance the field.


This article is based on work done by and consultations obtained from leading experts in the field over a 6-month period that culminated in a full-day symposium designed to systematically review the most pertinent MEDLINE published reports and develop a roadmap to elucidate the molecular steps of carcinogenesis, reduce the extent or prevent the need for therapies, eliminate recurrences, and reduce morbidity.


Expression profiling of pure DCIS will help elucidate the molecular characteristics that distinguish high-risk lesions from clinically irrelevant lesions. The development of new methods of extracting RNA from processed tissues may provide opportunities for research. Mammography often underestimates the pathologic extent of DCIS; other imaging methods need to be investigated for detection and monitoring of disease stability or progression. Novel biologic agents are being delivered in neoadjuvant clinical trials, and alternative methods for breast irradiation are being studied. Future trials of treatment versus no treatment for biologically selected cases of DCIS should be developed.


There is a critical need for a concerted international effort among patients with DCIS, clinicians, and basic scientists to conduct the research necessary to improve fundamental understanding of the biology and clinical behavior of DCIS and prevent development of invasive breast cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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