Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-obligate precursor to most types of invasive breast cancer (IBC). Although it is estimated only one third of untreated patients with DCIS will progress to IBC, standard of care for treatment is surgery and radiation. This therapeutic approach combined with a lack of reliable biomarker panels to predict DCIS progression is a major clinical problem. DCIS shares the same molecular subtypes as IBC including estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) positive luminal subtypes, which encompass the majority (60-70%) of DCIS. Compared to the established roles of ER and PR in luminal IBC, much less is known about the roles and mechanism of action of estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) and their cognate receptors in the development and progression of DCIS. This is an underexplored area of research due in part to a paucity of suitable experimental models of ER+/PR + DCIS. This review summarizes information from clinical and observational studies on steroid hormones as breast cancer risk factors and ER and PR as biomarkers in DCIS. Lastly, we discuss emerging experimental models of ER+/PR+ DCIS.
Keywords: Ductal carcinoma In Situ; Estrogen receptor; Progesterone receptor; Steroid hormones.