The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.

Emerging Areas in the Treatment of DCIS

DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) is a non-invasive breast cancer.

Researchers are studying the best ways to treat DCIS. Emerging areas in the treatment of DCIS include:

  • Ways to predict which cases of DCIS will progress to invasive breast cancer (to target treatment to those who are at higher risk)
  • Determining which women may not need radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS

Kornelia Polyak, M.D., Ph.D.
Komen Scientific Advisory Board member

“Understanding why some patients with DCIS develop invasive breast cancer, while others do not, would help our understanding of drivers of tumor progression and the design of more effective therapies.”

Lumpectomy with or without radiation therapy

Radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS decreases the risk of [6-13]:

  • DCIS recurrence (a return of DCIS) in the treated breast
  • Invasive breast cancer in the treated breast

Overall survival is the same for women with DCIS who have lumpectomy with or without whole breast radiation therapy [6-8].

Since radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS doesn’t improve survival, there are questions about the need for all women to get radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS.

Researchers are studying which women might be able to avoid radiation therapy after lumpectomy for DCIS.

Some women with small, low grade DCIS and clean surgical margins have a low risk of recurrence after lumpectomy. Some of these women may choose to have partial breast radiation therapy or avoid radiation therapy altogether [6,13-14].


For a summary of research studies on lumpectomy plus radiation therapy as a treatment for DCIS, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.

Oncotype DX for DCIS

Oncotype DX® is a test that helps predict the chance of metastasis (when cancer spreads to other organs) for some invasive breast cancers. It tests a sample of the tumor (removed during a biopsy or surgery) for a group of 21 genes.

Oncotype DX Breast DCIS Score® is a modified version of the Oncotype DX test for invasive breast cancer to help predict the chance DCIS will return as DCIS or invasive breast cancer [21-22]. These two Oncotype DX tests are similar, but not exactly the same.

The Oncotype DX Breast DCIS test might help identify which cases of DCIS would benefit most from radiation therapy after lumpectomy, and which women might be treated with lumpectomy alone [21-22].

The Oncotype DX Breast DCIS needs further study and is not part of standard care.

Learn more about Oncotype DX and treatment for invasive breast cancer.  

Clinical trials

 After discussing the benefits and risks with your health care provider, we encourage you to join a clinical trial if there’s one right for you.

Susan G. Komen® Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline

If you or a loved one needs information or resources about clinical trials, call the Komen Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877- 465- 6636) or email

The Helpline offers breast cancer clinical trial education and support, such as:

  • Knowing when to consider a trial
  • How to find a trial
  • How to decide which trial is best
  • What to expect during a trial
  • Information about clinical trial resources in collaboration with Susan G. Komen® offers a custom matching service to help find clinical trials that fit your health needs.

Learn more about clinical trials

Our commitment to research

At Susan G. Komen®, we are committed to saving lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Our Research Program is an essential driving force for achieving this mission.

Since our inception in 1982, Komen has provided funding to support research grants that have greatly expanded our knowledge of breast cancer and helped us understand that breast cancer is not just a single disease but many diseases, unique to each individual.

To date, Komen has provided about $1.1 billion to researchers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and 24 countries to support research that has resulted in a better understanding of breast cancer; earlier detection; personalized, less invasive treatments for what was once a “one-treatment-fits-all” disease; and improvements in both quality of life and survival rates.

Learn more about our continuing investment in research and the exciting research we are funding, because nothing would make us happier than ending breast cancer forever. 

 Updated 05/12/21


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