The causes of ductal carcinoma in situ are still under investigation. Although medical professionals understand that – on a basic level – ductal carcinoma in situ develops when DNA damage causes healthy cells to reproduce uncontrollably, they are still working to understand how this DNA damage actually occurs. They are also working to understand why – unlike other, more invasive forms of cancer – ductal carcinoma in situ does not always invade nearby tissues.
Several studies are currently underway to connect the dots between the various stages of cancer development. For instance, researchers are working to determine:
- Whether the known ductal carcinoma in situ risk factors (e.g., hereditary mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes) directly cause healthy cells to become cancerous, or whether the process involves several different triggers and responses
- Which specific genes become damaged during the development of ductal carcinoma in situ, and what this genetic damage does to a formerly healthy cell
- What causes certain cases of ductal carcinoma in situ to become invasive while others remain noninvasive (currently, it is believed that the more abnormal the cells appear underneath a microscope – and the more rapidly they reproduce – the more likely they are to eventually develop into a more invasive form of breast cancer)
At Moffitt Cancer Center, breast cancer research is one of our primary areas of focus. Not only are we looking to determine how ductal carcinoma in situ develops, but also how it can be treated more effectively. For instance, we are studying various hormonal therapies and how they affect hormone receptor-positive cancers, using our laboratory advances to improve outcomes and quality of life for each of our patients.
Our expert oncologists can further explain the causes of ductal carcinoma in situ. To make an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required.