Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pathologic and biologic response to preoperative endocrine therapy in patients with ER-positive ductal carcinoma in situ

  • Author(s): Chen, Yunn-Yi
  • DeVries, Sandy
  • Anderson, Joseph
  • Lessing, Juan
  • Swain, Rebecca
  • Chin, Koei
  • Shim, Veronica
  • Esserman, Laura J
  • Waldman, Frederic M
  • Hwang, E Shelley
  • et al.

Abstract Background Endocrine therapy is commonly recommended in the adjuvant setting for patients as treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). However, it is unknown whether a neoadjuvant (preoperative) anti-estrogen approach to DCIS results in any biological change. This study was undertaken to investigate the pathologic and biomarker changes in DCIS following neoadjuvant endocrine therapy compared to a group of patients who did not undergo preoperative anti-estrogenic treatment to determine whether such treatment results in detectable histologic alterations. Methods Patients (n = 23) diagnosed with ER-positive pure DCIS by stereotactic core biopsy were enrolled in a trial of neoadjuvant anti-estrogen therapy followed by definitive excision. Patients on hormone replacement therapy, with palpable masses, or with histologic or clinical suspicion of invasion were excluded. Premenopausal women were treated with tamoxifen and postmenopausal women were treated with letrozole. Pathologic markers of proliferation, inflammation, and apoptosis were evaluated at baseline and at three months. Biomarker changes were compared to a cohort of patients who had not received preoperative treatment. Results Median age of the cohort was 53 years (range 38–78); 14 were premenopausal. Following treatment, predominant morphologic changes included increased multinucleated histiocytes and degenerated cells, decreased duct extension, and prominent periductal fibrosis. Two postmenopausal patients had ADH only with no residual DCIS at excision. Postmenopausal women on letrozole had significant reduction of PR, and Ki67 as well as increase in CD68-positive cells. For premenopausal women on tamoxifen treatment, the only significant change was increase in CD68. No change in cleaved caspase 3 was found. Two patients had invasive cancer at surgery. Conclusion Preoperative therapy for DCIS is associated with significant pathologic alterations. These changes may be clinically significant. Further work is needed to identify which women may be the best candidates for such treatment for DCIS, and whether best responders may safely avoid surgical intervention. Trial Registration NCT00290745

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View