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With the increased use of screening mammography, the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has increased substantially and it currently accounts for 20-30% of newly diagnosed breast carcinomas in United States. Breast conserving therapy with or without radiotherapy is the accepted treatment for most cases of DCIS. However, the local recurrence rate with such therapy rages from 10 to 40% with half of these patients developing invasive carcinoma. Tamoxifen, used as an adjuvant systemic therapy for DCIS, does not increase overall survival and data on reduction of local recurrence rates are conflicting.

The current classification for DCIS based on nuclear grade, architectural differentiation and presence of necrosis, does not adequately predict the likelihood of recurrence after breast conserving therapy. Therefore, there is a critical need to identify novel predictors of DCIS progression and potential targets for therapy.

Recently, we showed that an absence of stromal (caveolin 1) Cav-1 expression in human breast cancers is a powerful single independent predictor of early disease recurrence, metastasis and poor clinical outcome. However, it remains unknown where stromal Cav-1 levels play any role in the progression of DCIS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the stromal expression of Cav-1 in a cohort of DCIS patients treated with wide-excision and close follow-up and examined the association between stromal Cav-1 expression and clinicopathological variables, DCIS recurrence or progression to invasive breast cancer.