Risk factors for DCIS

In 2009 the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published the Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, Diagnosis and Management of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) (AHRQ, 2009). The report is a systematic synthesis of the published evidence about the incidence, risk factors, and the management options for women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast.

While no causual relationships have been found, multiple risk factors have been proposed. Here we outline the AHRQ findings for 4 risk factor categories: (1) demographic factors, (2) reproductive factors, (3) biological risk factors such as family history, (4) behavioral risk factors

Demographic factors

Reproductive factors

Biological factors

Behavioral risk factors

It is not clear exactly what triggers the cellular changes that result in DCIS. It is likely that preventable and non-preventable influences are responsible. A 2011 study by Schnabel, Chun, Billig et al., found no statistically significant differences for the following risk factors between women diagnosed with DCIS or IDC:


Oral contraceptives are known to increase the risk of DCIS.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2009). Diagnosis and Management of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). Evidence Report/Technology Assessment Number 185. Accessed 12/25/16. http://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/research/findings/evidence-based-reports/dcis-evidence-report.pdf

Bauer, S.R., Hankinson, S.E., Bertone-Johnson, E.R., et al (2013). Plasma vitamin D levels, menopause, and risk of breast cancer: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Medicine 92,123-131.

Kabat G.C., Kim M., Kakani C., Tindle H., Wactawski-Wende J. , Ockene J.K., Luo J., Wassertheil-Smoller S., Rohan T.E. (2010) Cigarette Smoking in Relation to Risk of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ of the Breast in a Cohort of Postmenopausal Women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 172 (5): 591-599. Accessed online 11/22/15 http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/172/5/591.

Schnabel F., Chun K., Billig J., et al. (2011) Poster Session 4 - Epidemiology, Risk, and Prevention: Risk Factors and Modeling. Risk Factor Profiles of Women with DCIS and Invasive Ductal Breast Cancers. Cancer Research. December 15, 2011

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2014) Surgeon General Reports. The Health Consequences of Smoking 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014 http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress



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