Preoperative Delays in the Treatment of DCIS and the Associated Incidence of Invasive Breast Cancer

Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 Feb;27(2):386-396. doi: 10.1245/s10434-019-07844-4. Epub 2019 Sep 27.


Background: Although treatment delays have been associated with survival impairment for invasive breast cancer, this has not been thoroughly investigated for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). With trials underway to assess whether DCIS can remain unresected, this study was performed to determine whether longer times to surgery are associated with survival impairment or increased invasion.

Methods: A population-based study of prospectively collected national data derived from women with a clinical diagnosis of DCIS between 2004 and 2014 was conducted using the National Cancer Database. Overall survival (OS) and presence of invasion were assessed as functions of time by evaluating five intervals (≤ 30, 31-60, 61-90, 91-120, 121-365 days) between diagnosis and surgery. Subset analyses assessed those having pathologic DCIS versus invasive cancer on final pathology.

Results: Among 140,615 clinical DCIS patients, 123,947 had pathologic diagnosis of DCIS and 16,668 had invasive ductal carcinoma. For all patients, 5-year OS was 95.8% and unadjusted median delay from diagnosis to surgery was 38 days. With each delay interval increase, added relative risk of death was 7.4% (HR 1.07; 95% CI 1.05-1.10; P < 0.001). On final pathology, 5-year OS for noninvasive patients was 96.0% (95% CI 95.9-96.1%) versus 94.9% (95% CI 94.6-95.3%) for invasive patients. Increasing delay to surgery was an independent predictor of invasion (OR 1.13; 95% CI 1.11-1.15; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Despite excellent OS for invasive and noninvasive cohorts, invasion was seen more frequently as delay increased. This suggests that DCIS trials evaluating nonoperative management, which represents infinite delay, require long term follow up to ensure outcomes are not compromised.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mastectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time-to-Treatment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult