Reproductive and hormonal risk factors for ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 May;18(5):1507-14. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0967.


One-fifth of all newly diagnosed breast cancer cases are ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), but little is known about DCIS risk factors. Recent studies suggest that some subtypes of DCIS (high grade or comedo) share histopathologic and epidemiologic characteristics with invasive disease, whereas others (medium or low grade or non-comedo) show different patterns. To investigate whether reproductive and hormonal risk factors differ among comedo and non-comedo types of DCIS and invasive breast cancer (IBC), we used a population-based case-control study of 1,808 invasive and 446 DCIS breast cancer cases and their age and race frequency-matched controls (1,564 invasive and 458 DCIS). Three or more full-term pregnancies showed a strong inverse association with comedo-type DCIS [odds ratio (OR), 0.53; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.30-0.95] and a weaker inverse association for non-comedo DCIS (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.42-1.27). Several risk factors (age at first full-term pregnancy, breast-feeding, and age at menopause) showed similar associations for comedo-type DCIS and IBC but different associations for non-comedo DCIS. Ten or more years of oral contraceptive showed a positive association with comedo-type DCIS (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 0.70-2.47) and IBC (OR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.06-5.09) but an inverse association for non-comedo DCIS (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.25-1.04). Our results support the theory that comedo-type DCIS may share hormonal and reproductive risk factors with IBC, whereas the etiology of non-comedo DCIS deserves further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Black People
  • Breast Feeding
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / ethnology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Reproductive History*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • White People


  • Contraceptives, Oral