New Risks for Early Breast Cancer
Certain Types of Early Breast Cancer May Be More Dangerous Than Once Thought
WebMD News Archive
April 10, 2006 -- Women with two types of early breast cancer may be at
higher risk of progressing to advanced disease than previously thought.
A new study suggests that women diagnosed with early-stage lobular carcinoma
in situ (LCIS) and women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who are
under 50 years old, black, or Hispanic are at increased risk of developing
advanced-stage breast cancer tumors that may spread to other parts of the
LCIS and DCIS are two types of early-generation cancer cells that have not
yet spread beyond the breast. Researchers say the diagnosis of these types of
early breast cancers has increased sevenfold since 1980, largely due to more
frequent breast cancer screening and breast biopsies.
Current recommendations call for these types of localized breast cancer to
be treated differently.
For example, surgery is recommended for DCIS because it is considered a
precursor to more advanced types of breast cancer. LCIS is usually considered
to be a nonsurgical disease, based on research studies done from 1974 to
But the results of this study suggest that more aggressive treatments and
follow-up care may be needed.
Precursor to Advanced Disease
The study, published in the journal Cancer, included analysis of
follow-up information on more than 37,000 women diagnosed with DCIS and about
4,500 women with LCIS.
Researchers found that women with LCIS tumors were more than five times as
likely to develop an advanced type of breast cancer known as invasive lobular
carcinoma (ILC) than women with DCIS, although they were slightly less likely
to develop invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC).
They say the results suggest that LCIS may be a precursor to ILC rather than
just a risk factor.
Among women with DCIS, those who were under 50 years old, as well as
Hispanic and black women, were at higher risk of developing advanced, invasive
disease that spread to other areas than older and white women.
Researchers say these findings may potentially change the way early breast
cancer is treated as well as lead to new follow-up strategies for women with
early breast cancer.