The diagnosis and management of pre-invasive breast disease: genetic alterations in pre-invasive lesions

Breast Cancer Res. 2003;5(6):313-9. doi: 10.1186/bcr650. Epub 2003 Oct 9.


The development of modern molecular genetic techniques has allowed breast cancer researchers to clarify the multistep model of breast carcinogenesis. Laser capture microdissection coupled with comparative genomic hybridisation and/or loss-of-heterozygosity methods have confirmed that many pre-invasive lesions of the breast harbour chromosomal abnormalities at loci known to be altered in invasive breast carcinomas. Current data do not provide strong evidence for ductal hyperplasia of usual type as a precursor lesion, although some are monoclonal proliferations; however, atypical hyperplasia and in situ carcinoma appear to be nonobligate precursors. We review current knowledge and the contribution of molecular genetics in the understanding of breast cancer precursors and pre-invasive lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma in Situ / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness