The role of radiotherapy in the conservative treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast

Csaba Polgár, Zsuzsanna Kahán, Zsolt Orosz, Gabriella Gábor, Janaki Hadijev, Gábor Cserni, Janina Kulka, Nóra Jani, Zoltán Sulyok, György Lázár, Gábor Boross, Csaba Diczházi, Éva Szabó, Zsolt László, Zoltán Péntek, Tibor Major, János Fodor

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) followed by radiotherapy (RT) has become the standard of care for the treatment of early-stage (St. I-II) invasive breast carcinoma. However, controversy exists regarding the value of RT in the conservative treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In this article we review the role of RT in the management of DCIS. Retrospective and prospective trials and meta-analyses published between 1975 and 2007 in the MEDLINE database, and recent issues of relevant journals/handbooks relating to DCIS, BCS and RT were searched for. In retrospective series (10,194 patients) the 10-year rate of local recurrence (LR) with and without RT was reported in the range of 9-28% and 22-54%, respectively. In four large randomised controlled trials (NSABP-B-17, EORTC-10853, UKCCCR, SweDCIS; 4,568 patients) 50 Gy whole-breast RT significantly decreased the 5-year LR rate from 16-22% (annual LR rate: 2.6-5.0%) to 7-10% (annual LR rate: 1.3-1.9%). In a recent meta-analysis of randomised trials the addition of RT to BCS resulted in a 60% risk reduction of both invasive and in situ recurrences. In a multicentre retrospective study, an additional dose of 10 Gy to the tumour bed yielded a further 55% risk reduction compared to RT without boost. To date, no subgroups have been reliably identified that do not benefit from RT after BCS. In the NSABP-B-24 trial, the addition of tamoxifen (TAM) to RT reduced ipsilateral (11.1% vs. 7.7%) and contralateral (4.9% vs. 2.3%) breast events significantly. In contrast, in the UKCCCR study, TAM produced no significant reduction in all breast events. Based on available evidence obtained from retrospective and prospective trials, all patients with DCIS have potential benefit from RT after BCS. Further prospective studies are warranted to identify subgroups of low-risk patients with DCIS for whom RT can be safely omitted. Until long-term results of ongoing studies on outcomes of patients treated with BCS alone (with or without TAM or aromatase inhibitors) are available, RT should be routinely recommended after BCS for all patients except those with contraindication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-192
Number of pages14
JournalPathology and Oncology Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Breast-conserving therapy
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ
  • Endocrine therapy
  • Prognostic factors
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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