Age bows out as factor in cancer recurrence for women with ductal carcinoma

October 10, 2008

Conventional thinking says younger women with ductal carcinoma in situ are more likely to have cancer recurrences than older women diagnosed with the condition. A new study from Fox Chase Cancer Center, however, is proving this view wrong.

Conventional thinking says younger women with ductal carcinoma in situ are more likely to have cancer recurrences than older women diagnosed with the condition. A new study from Fox Chase Cancer Center, however, is proving this view wrong.

Traditionally, it was thought younger women with DCIS were likely to have more recurrence than women diagnosed at an older age. A study presented at the 2008 American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting, however, showed no statistically significant difference between younger and older patients when it comes to recurrences.

Dr. Aruna Turaka, a fellow in the department of radiation oncology at Fox Chase, and colleagues examined 440 patients with DCIS treated at the center from 1978 to 2007. Patients with invasive disease or more than one area involved in the breast were excluded. All patients received whole-breast radiotherapy, and 95% received additional radiation delivered to the site where the cancer was removed, termed a "boost."

Median age was 56 years old, but 24 patients were 40 or younger. Reexcision was required in 62% of patients overall and in 75% of those 40 or younger.

Local recurrence for all women was 7% at 10 years and 8% at 15 years. For patients 40 or younger, the recurrence rate at 15 years was 10%. For patients 41 to 54, it was 7%, 11% for women 55 to 69, and 4% for women 70 and older.

"There is a trend toward increased risk in younger women, but it was not significant to show that they do badly compared with the older women," Turaka said in an interview with Diagnostic Imaging.

Turaka notes this was a single-institute experience as well as a retrospective study, meaning the findings need to be backed up by further research. Doing boosts may have contributed to the low recurrence rates. More studies on DCIS need to be done with larger numbers of patients and at multiple sites, she said.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Breast elastography moves toward clinical mainstream

Imagers seek clarity on pool of supplemental screening patients

Pathology innovations challenge conventional DCIS assumptions