Q:

What is the importance of the research trial comparing treatments for women with DCIS?

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Quick Answer

Clinical trials sponsored by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group are intended to analyze effects of MRI and gene expression tests in diagnosing patients with DCIS, states ClinicalTrials.gov. Primarily, the study is meant to discover whether obtaining MRI results leads to over-treatment by causing lumpectomy candidates to choose mastectomy instead.

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MRI gives a more accurate, detailed picture of the extent of the disease than mammography or ultrasound, but there are concerns that the MRI testing itself may lead to over-treatment, meaning unnecessary mastectomies, says EurekaAlert!, quoting Dr. Constance Lehman.

A lumpectomy is the removal of the part of the breast that contains the tumor, but leaves the rest of the breast alone, explains EurekaAlert! Mastectomy, however, involves the removal of all the breast tissue. The study, NCT number: 02352883, is designed to discover how many women on the path to lumpectomy change their decisions solely on the basis of MRI findings, and get a mastectomy instead.

There is also a secondary purpose to this study, explains EurekaAlert!. The women who get lumpectomies are then given genetic tests that help them decide, along with their doctors, whether to get radiation treatment following the lumpectomies. The study then analyzes the effects of the use of these tools on the outcomes of the patients in the study group.

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