Ductal Carcinoma in situ

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Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

Can you name the disease associated with this classic distribution of enhancement on the sagittal breast MRI?

The arrows on the breast MR subtraction image point to clumped, non‐masslike enhancement in a ductal distribution, directed toward the nipple. These findings are most compatible and concerning for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

DCIS is malignancy confined to the ducts of the breast. It is considered to be a preinvasive form of cancer. Mammographic screening has led to an increased frequency in the detection of DCIS, which now accounts for approximately 20% of all detected breast cancers. Early detection of this preinvasive form of breast cancer is one of the factors contributing to the decrease in breast cancer mortality. Most DCIS is detected mammographically in the form of pleomorphic microcalcifications. However, recent studies have shown that MRI is capable of detecting not only calcified DCIS, but uncalcified DCIS as well. In fact, the sensitivity of MRI for DCIS is higher than that of mammography, especially for high grade lesions which are thought to be more prone to progress to invasive carcinomas.

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Mahoney MC, Ballard A.  Ductal Carcinoma in situ.  J Am Osteopath Coll Radiol.  2013;2(1):33.

About the Author

Mary C. Mahoney, M.D., and Arthur Ballard, M.D.

Mary C. Mahoney, M.D., and Arthur Ballard, M.D.

Dr. Mahoney and Dr. Ballard work with the Breast Imaging Department, University of Cincinnati Health/University Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.


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