- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a
non-invasive form of breast cancer that originates in the milk ducts of the
- DCIS may progress into invasive breast cancer
without treatment in around 10-15% of women.
- Overall risk
of dying from any other cause other than breast cancer, in women diagnosed with
DCIS is smaller.
- This could be due to better health and
socioeconomic status of women who regularly participate in breast cancer
screening programs, which helps to spot the cancer.
Women over 50 years of age who have been
treated for ductal carcinoma in situ
(DCIS) are more
likely to be alive ten years later than women in the general population.
The findings are according to new research presented at the European
Cancer Congress (ECCO)
‘Women treated for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) had a 10% lower risk of dying from any cause compared to the general population.’
Presented by Dr Lotte Elshof, research physician and epidemiologist at
the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the
findings showed that, the overall risk of dying from any other
cause in women with DCIS is smaller. However, they do have a higher risk of
dying from breast
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
DCIS is non-invasive and differs from
breast cancer. It originates
in the milk ducts of the breast.
does not lead to any signs or symptoms and 80% of the cases are detected
untreated, it can progress into an invasive breast cancer, which can
be life-threatening. Around 10-15% of the women with DCIS may develop breast
cancer without treatment.
It is usually treated with surgery or surgery combined with radiation
The risk of developing invasive breast
cancer in the same breast, 10 years following treatment is approximately:
- 1% after mastectomy
- 10% after
breast-conserving surgery alone
- 5% after breast-conserving
surgery followed by radiotherapy
The number of women being diagnosed with
DCIS is increasing, as it is being detected through breast screening programs.
According to the American Cancer Society,
about 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed in the United States each year. This accounts for
about 1 out of every 5 new breast cancer cases.
the U.K, over 7,000 cases are diagnosed and over 2,300 in the
team led by Dr Jelle Wesseling, a breast pathologist at the
Netherlands Cancer Institute, studied data on almost 10,000 Dutch women who
were diagnosed with DCIS between 1989 and 2004.
They tracked the patients for an average
of 10 years and compared their death rates with the expected mortality in the
They found that women over 50 years, who
had been treated for DCIS had a 10% lower risk of dying from any cause compared
to the general population.
Dr Lotte Elshof told the Congress, "Being diagnosed
with DCIS can be extremely distressing, and research indicates that many women
overestimate the risks involved and are confused about treatment. This study
should provide reassurance that a diagnosis of DCIS does not raise the risk of
"It might seem surprising that this
group of women actually has a lower mortality rate than the general population.
However, the vast majority would have been diagnosed via breast screening,
which suggests they may be health-conscious and well enough to participate in
The study shows that the risk of DCIS
patients dying from breast cancer is
- 2.5% after 10 years
- 4% after 15 years
Though these rates are higher than in the
general population, the rates were getting lower in women diagnosed with DCIS
Women diagnosed with DCIS had a lower
risk of dying from diseases of the circulatory, respiratory and digestive
systems and other cancers.
Further research with an increased study
size is necessary to understand why some cases of DCIS progress into invasive
cancer, while others do not.
Even after removal of the entire breast
or after breast conserving therapy consisting of surgery, generally combined
with radiation therapy, DCIS can progress into breast cancer. These treatments
can have side-effects, on the heart
This research provides reassurance for
women diagnosed with DCIS in terms of longevity as well as in regards to the
potential risks of side-effects.
Professor Philip Poortmans,
President-elect of ECCO and head of the Radiation Oncology Department at
(Nijmegen, The Netherlands), said, "However, we have to recognize that in one fifth of
the patients who die, the cause is breast cancer, which is likely to result
from progression of the DCIS they were diagnosed with. Therefore, we are
eagerly waiting for the results of further research to identify the factors -
including age, as clearly shown in this study - that contribute to the risk for
recurrence and progression from DCIS for each individual patient."
"Remarkably, the increased risk of
dying from breast cancer is completely offset by a lower risk of dying from
other causes compared to women in the general population. This might be
explained by the generally better health and socioeconomic status of women who
regularly participate in breast cancer screening. This could also be tested in
the on-going research." Poortmans added.
- DCIS — Ductal Carcinoma In Situ -
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) -