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The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Breast Density in a Contemporary Cohort of Women With Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)

Jessica C. Gooch MD, Jennifer Chun MPH, Elianna Kaplowitz MPH, Emma Kurz BS, Amber Guth MD, Jiyon Lee MD, Freya Schnabel MD
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 11 / October , 2019



Mammographic breast density (MBD) is an independent risk factor for breast cancer. Information regarding the relationship of MBD and breast cancer biology in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is currently lacking. This study aimed to examine the clinicopathologic characteristics of DCIS in women stratified by MBD.


A retrospective review was performed to identify women with pure DCIS who underwent preoperative mammography between 2010 and 2018. Clinicopathologic and demographic data were collected. For the purpose of analysis, MBD was categorized as “non-dense” (Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System [BI-RADS] density categories A and B) or “dense” (BI-RADS C and D) according to its identification in radiology reports.


Of 3227 patients with a breast cancer diagnosis enrolled in the institutional Breast Cancer Database during the study period, 658 (20%) had pure DCIS. Of these 658 patients, 42% had non-dense breasts, and 58% had dense breasts. Most lesions were non-palpable (92%) and detected by mammography (84%). Patients with dense breasts were more likely to be younger at the time of diagnosis (p < 0.001), premenopausal (p < 0.001), and Asian (p = 0.018), and to have higher-grade disease (p = 0.006; Table 2). Family history, BRCA status, parity, mammogram frequency, palpability, method of presentation, lesion size, hormone receptor status, comedo histology, and recurrence did not differ significantly between the two groups (Table 1). The median follow-up period was 7.1 years.


Women with pure DCIS and higher MBD are more likely to be younger at the time of diagnosis, premenopausal, and Asian, and to present with higher-grade disease. Further research on the relationship of age, MBD, and tumor biology in DCIS is warranted.

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