Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Surgical Oncology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 979521, 5 pages
Research Article

Mammary Ductal Carcinoma In Situ: A Fresh Look at Architectural Patterns

1Department of Pathology, Royal Darwin Hospital, Tiwi, NT 2011, Australia
2Pathology North, Taree, NSW 2430, Australia
3Academic Pathology, The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Received 12 September 2011; Accepted 22 December 2011

Academic Editor: Virgilio Sacchini

Copyright © 2012 Gabriel Scripcaru and Ibrahim M. Zardawi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mammary ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS), a malignant appearing lesion on cytological and histological grounds, is in fact a non-obligate precancer. DCIS is difficult to manage and is sometimes treated more aggressively than invasive carcinoma. Although most DCIS classifications take into account the architectural growth pattern, when it comes to architecture, the literature is full of contradictory information. We examined 289 breast cancers and found DCIS in 265 of the cases. The majority of the DCIS cases were seen in the setting of invasive cancer and only 9% of the cases represented pure DCIS with no invasive cancer. The DCIS commonly displayed a mixed pattern with micropapillary, cribriform and solid components with the micropapillary type being the rarest, occurring seldom on its own. A continuum of growth with a micropapillary pattern evolving into a cribriform type could be seen in some of the cases. This may explain some of the conflicting information, in the literature, regarding the different architectural types of DCIS. The comedo-pattern of necrosis could be seen in all types of DCIS. We therefore conclude that the study of the determinants of growth pattern in DCIS would be the key to unravelling the diverse, often non-concordant evidence one encounters in the literature.