Current controversies in the treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents a disease that includes different risk categories and does not necessarily turn into invasive cancer. The 20% of all newly diagnosed breast cancers consist in DCIS, with an incidence increased due to the widespread diffusion of screening programs. Once upon a time, mastectomy was considered the gold standard in treatment of DCIS, but over the years, breast-conserving surgery (BCS) has been included as the treatment of choice for patients with small lesions. Several randomized trials demonstrated that adjuvant treatment as radiation and ET reduce the risk of local recurrence, including invasive recurrences. Therefore, in patients with DCIS susceptible to conservative surgery, the key decision for management is represented by the addition of radiotherapy (RT) or ET. With the variety of surgical and adjuvant treatment options available, there has been great interest in tailoring therapies to the individual, with the goal of optimizing the balance of risks and benefits. From the observation of the first data showing how such treatments are not clearly associated with an improvement in disease specific mortality, the upcoming hypothesis is to consider omitting some of such treatments or to plan close surveillance for low risk lesions. Prospective studies on women treated with BCS alone have identified low risk lesions. Actually, the main challenge is how to recognize cases that will not progress to invasive lesions. Despite all the studies carried out and the many available data, there are no unique and universally accepted treatment criteria, so some issues of controversy are still open.