What is the malignant nature of human ductal carcinoma in situ?
Invasive, genetically abnormal carcinoma progenitor cells have been propagated from human and mouse breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) lesions, providing new insights into breast cancer progression. The survival of DCIS cells in the hypoxic, nutrient-deprived intraductal niche could promote genetic instability and the derepression of the invasive phenotype. Understanding potential survival mechanisms, such as autophagy, that might be functioning in DCIS lesions provides strategies for arresting invasion at the pre-malignant stage. A new, open trial of neoadjuvant therapy for patients with DCIS constitutes a model for testing investigational agents that target malignant progenitor cells in the intraductal niche.