April 2, 2014, Santa Monica, CA and Ridgewood, NJ – 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 20131. 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 untreated2. 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 an affiliate of New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and 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.



1American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figure 2013-2014

2Allred DC. Ductal carcinoma in situ: terminology, classification, and natural history. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. Monogr. 2010;2010(41):134-8.


Photo and illustrations follow.

Above:  Artist’s  rendition of breast ductal systems.

Source: Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Above: Artist’s 3D rendition of an involved duct within the breast

Source: Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Above: Graphic representation of milk duct with progressive disease ending in DCIS (cancer contained within the duct) (fourth figure) and invasive cancer (fifth figure)

Source: Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation


Above: Dr. Laura Klein, medical director, The Valley Hospital Breast Center (left) and Dr. Susan Love, chief visionary officer, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (right)

Source: The Valley Hospital


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6 Responses to Imaging Technique Could Mean a Paradigm Shift in Understanding Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

  1. Heather Nance says:

    I think this is great news!! I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer last year at the age of 35. I went into my double mastectomy with the sergeon diagnosing me as stage 0 or possibly stage 1 with no lymph nodes involved. I came out of surgery with 7 out of 16 lymph nodes involved and it had already spread to a bone in my back.
    I would also love to see the age for mammograms come down to age 30 instead of 40. There are more and more young women getting breast cancer and by the time it is discovered it is advanced.

  2. Very best of luck in this research!

  3. Jean says:

    As a two-time breast cancer survivor (DCIS and LCIS) I find this very encouraging! Keep up the good work! Let’s rid of this horrible disease once and for all!

  4. Sarah says:

    This is really great news! I was diagnosed with DCIS and invasive breast cancer (level 1) in 2010. The invasive tumor was removed in the first operation, but my surgeons were not able to remove all the DCIS in either the first or 2nd lumpectomy. I finally had a mastectomy to ensure that all was removed. I sometimes still ask myself if that was really necessary…so it is great that you are working on finding a better imaging tool for DCIS. Thank your for your constant efforts to improve women’s health!

  5. Teresa Masters says:

    My invasive ductal cancer stage 1 was never seen on mammograms nor hand held ultrasound. SonoCine identified my cancer.Insurance did not cover this, nor was it offered at my top class facility. I researched my surgeons and selected one who was also a teacher and researcher who believes in breast sparing measures. I asked her about her track record on clean margins and it was well over 87%. Upon pre-op I was sent to Nuclear Medicine for a radioactive “shot” which was monitored until it showed it had reached its goal, the tumor site. The Nuclear MD told me how very much he respects this surgeon as she uses a Geiger counter during surgery to ensure clean margins. This BTW is the very same University facility that never saw the cancer, never shared with me my dense breast tissue, and “saw no reason for Whole Breast Automated Ultrasound.” I will never willingly enter that Imaging Center at all.

  6. Debra Terry says:

    Great! My Mother was diagnosed with DCIS in 2000 age 72, Invasive BC in 2007, stage 4 in 2008. I think what our research is doing will help us treat DCIS. !n 2000, 2007 MD’s stated everything was clean. Had lumpectomy in 2001 and total mastectomy in 2007. In 2008 it had spread to liver and bones, as well. She died in 2011 at age 83 from BC.

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