The Emerging Roles of Steroid Hormone Receptors in Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) of the Breast

J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2018 Dec;23(4):237-248. doi: 10.1007/s10911-018-9416-0. Epub 2018 Oct 18.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Progesterone