A new genetic test may help determine whether a small tumor in the breast is likely to turn in to full-blown breast cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The small tumor, called a ductal carcinoma in-situ, or DCIS, resides in the milk ducts and is generally considered pre-cancerous. But according to the study, DCIS lesions left untreated will eventually progress to breast cancer in about 50% of patients. The lesions, which tend to be small and only detectable via mammogram, have become increasingly common as mammography has become more widespread.
Given that about 50% of women with DCIS will not progress to breast cancer, researchers have begun focusing on determining which half is which.
In the new study, carried out by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, researchers looked to see whether the absence of genes that have been previously identified as tumor suppressors might increase the likelihood that a DCIS lesion would progress to invasive breast cancer.