A new study of women with early stage, localized breast cancer identifies new patterns and risk factors for invasive disease that may influence how patients are treated. Published in the May 15, 2006 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals that patients with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) are actually at higher risk of developing advanced stage tumors than previously thought. In addition, women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who are under 50 years old, African-American or Hispanic are at increased risk of developing advanced stage invasive tumors.
In situ lesions, such as DCIS and LCIS, are early generation cancer cells that have not yet invaded adjacent tissue. The diagnosis of DCIS and LCIS has been increasing up to 7-fold since 1980, according to U.S. statistics. The increase is hypothesized to be due primarily to more screening mammograms and breast biopsies.
The significance of these confined lesions in the course of breast cancer continues to be explored. Current research indicates that DCIS and LCIS clinically have different courses and prognoses, and consequently, should have different treatments. Oncologists recommend surgery for DCIS, considered a precursor to same breast invasive cancer. In contrast, observation after biopsy is recommended for uncomplicated LCIS, which is thought to have little invasive risk but may be a risk factor for later breast cancer. A few small studies have suggested that LCIS has a risk for same and contralateral invasive tumors, prompting some to recommend bilateral mastectomy in high risk patients.
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