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J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2010;2010(41):134-8. doi: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgq035.

Ductal carcinoma in situ: terminology, classification, and natural history.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Ave, Campus Box 8118, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) refers to breast epithelial cells that have become "cancerous" but still reside in their normal place in the ducts and lobules. In this setting, cancerous means that there is an abnormal increase in the growth of the epithelial cells, which accumulate within and greatly expand the ducts and lobules. DCIS is a nonlethal type of cancer because it stays in its normal place. However, DCIS is very important because it is the immediate precursor of invasive breast cancers, which are potentially lethal. This article provides a general overview of DCIS, including historical perspective, methods of classification, current perspective, and future goals.

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