Ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast: finding the balance between overtreatment and undertreatment.


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) accounts for 15-25% of all breast cancer diagnoses. Its prognosis is excellent overall, the main risk being the occurrence of local breast events, as most cases of DCIS do not progress to invasive cancer. Systematic screening has greatly increased the incidence of this non-obligate precursor of invasion, lending urgency to the need to identify DCIS that is prone to invasive progression and distinguish it from non-invasion-prone DCIS, as the latter can be overdiagnosed and therefore overtreated. Treatment strategies, including surgery, radiotherapy, and optional endocrine therapy, decrease the risk of local events, but have no effect on survival outcomes. Active surveillance is being evaluated as a possible new option for low-risk DCIS. Considerable efforts to decipher the biology of DCIS have led to a better understanding of the factors that determine its variable natural history. Given this variability, shared decision making regarding optimal, personalised treatment strategies is the most appropriate course of action. Well designed, risk-based de-escalation studies remain a major need in this field.

More about this publication

Lancet (London, England)
  • Volume 403
  • Issue nr. 10445
  • Pages 2734-2746
  • Publication date 22-06-2024

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