Ductal Carcinoma In Situ



  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a heterogeneous group of lesions that have the presence of a clonal proliferation of neoplastic, noninvasive epithelial cells confined to ducts and lobules.
  • Considered a premalignant lesion
  • DCIS progression to invasive breast carcinoma (IBC) is low, regardless of histologic type or treatment.


DCIS accounts for ~80–85% of in situ breast carcinomas (lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS] accounts for approximately 15–20%) and ~26% of all new breast cancers.

Etiology and Pathophysiology


  • Low-grade DCIS typically expresses estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR), without HER2 protein overexpression or amplification.
  • High-grade DCIS not consistently ER+ or PR+
  • BRCA1 and BRCA2 associations observed

Risk Factors

Female gender, nulliparity, late age at first birth or menopause, first-degree relative with breast cancer, long-term use of postmenopausal combined estrogen and progestin therapy, history of atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), dense breast tissue

General Prevention

  • Screening may result in overdiagnosis with little or no reduction in the incidence of advanced cancers.
  • General screening guidelines—U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF):
    • Biennial mammography (MMG) for women aged 50 to 74 years (B recommendation)
    • Screening MMG in women <50 years should be based on risk factors.
    • Insufficient evidence regarding benefits and harms of screening MMG if ≥75 years old
    • Insufficient evidence to assess the benefits and harms of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) as a primary screening method (I statement)
    • Insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of adjunctive screening using breast ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), DBT, or other methods in women identified to have dense breasts on an otherwise negative screening mammogram (I statement)
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE):
    • USPSTF evidence is insufficient to assess benefits and harms when added to MMG screening for women aged ≥ 40 years.
    • WHO states CBE may be beneficial in settings with weak health settings (MMG not accessible) for women 50 to 69 years old.
  • Risk reduction:
    • Limit alcohol intake to <1 drink per day, exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and weight control.
    • Calcium (1,000 mg) plus vitamin D (1,000 IU) may lower risk of DCIS.
    • Hormonal risk reduction agent recommended in certain high-risk women ≥35 years old; tamoxifen for premenopausal women and raloxifene for postmenopausal women
    • Anastrozole (an aromatase inhibitor) significantly may decrease incidence of DCIS in postmenopausal women.

There's more to see -- the rest of this topic is available only to subscribers.