Imaging Technique Could Mean a Paradigm Shift in Understanding Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
April 2, 2014 —Santa Monica, CA and Ridgewood, NJ — The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and The Valley Hospital today announced a collaborative research project that could be the beginning of a paradigm shift in how Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) is treated. DCIS, also referred to as Stage 0 breast cancer, begins in the lining of a milk duct and is often diagnosed on a mammogram as microcalcification; however, these markers are only present in a small portion of the disease. Today, there is no viable means to visualize the anatomy of the duct containing the disease or the extent of disease within it. This can limit our ability to surgically excise the disease with clear margins in a single surgical setting or reliably recommend mastectomy.
The research team, consisting of Dr. Susan Love, chief visionary officer of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and Dr. Laura Klein, medical director of The Valley Hospital Breast Center, plan to explore whether instilling saline solution into the milk duct, and then imaging it with 3D ultrasound, will enable them to visualize the duct and map the extent of the patient’s DCIS. This could lead to better surgery planning and ultimately to a goal of being able to document the extent of a patient’s DCIS in order to develop a surveillance program to monitor this non-invasive disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 65,000 cases of DCIS were diagnosed in 2013. It is the most common form of in situ breast cancer, and may or may not progress to invasive cancer. Studies suggest that only about one-third of DCIS cases would progress to invasive cancer if left untreated. Although the current recommendation for patients diagnosed with DCIS is breast-conserving surgery, the lack of an accurate imaging tool often precludes the ability to obtain clean margins, leading to mastectomies.
“We are very pleased to be entering this research collaboration with The Valley Hospital to try to develop a way to visualize breast ducts and ultimately, DCIS,” said Dr. Susan Love. “If we are successful in this approach, it provides us with a viable option to distinguish between women who need extensive breast surgery and those who do not, as well as opening the way for less invasive means of treating this precancerous condition. We chose to collaborate with The Valley Hospital because it is a forward-thinking hospital that understands the value of participating in and investing in research.”
Dr. Laura Klein said, “This is an exciting project that we hope will result in a better way to determine the optimal course of treatment for women diagnosed with DCIS. We hope to be able to see the DCIS in the ducts, which will allow us to perform a better operation and give us the option of monitoring patients without immediately resorting to breast surgery.”
About the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation
The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s mission is to achieve a future without breast cancer by focusing on prevention and finding the cause. This is being accomplished by democratizing research to include the public’s voice in the process, facilitating research through programs like the Army of Women launched in 2008 as a resource for researchers, and performing research through projects like the innovative Health of Women [HOW] Study, created in 2012 to identify the cause and cost of the disease through an online cohort. For further information, please visit www.actwithlove.org
About The Valley Hospital
The Valley Hospital, a 451-bed, acute care-not-for-profit hospital located in Ridgewood, NJ, is part of Valley Health System, which also includes Valley Home Care and Valley Medical Group. Valley is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. These include 10 consecutive recognitions for service excellence by J.D. Power and Associates for inpatient care, and four awards for patient safety and quality care from the Leapfrog Group, which has ranked Valley among the top hospitals in the nation. The Valley Hospital Breast Center has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, and is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. Valley has been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best hospitals for cardiac surgery and orthopedic surgery. Valley has been honored three times with “Magnet” designation – the nursing profession’s highest honor. Key services include cardiology, oncology, women’s and children’s services, emergency care, orthopedics, and neurosciences. For more information, please visit www.ValleyHealth.com.
Caption: Dr. Laura Klein, medical director, The Valley Hospital Breast Center (left) and Dr. Susan Love, chief visionary officer, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (right) are collaborating on a research project to improve the treatment of women with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ — also referred to as Stage 0 breast cancer.