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Research Worth Watching: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2018 - Plenary

Plenary Session – December 5, 2018

The best talk I heard on Wednesday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was the plenary lecture presented by Nicholas Navin of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The talk, “Breast Tumor Evolution and Intratumor Heterogeneity — Insights from Single Cell Genomics,” focused on scientists’ use of single cell genomics to understand how ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) evolves into invasive cancer. 


DCIS is an acronym for ductal carcinoma in situ. DCIS is a precancer that is usually found on a mammogram. In this video, you will learn how DCIS is diagnosed and treated.

Are All Appearances What They Seem? New Insights Into DCIS

We tend to forget that science does not always represent "the truth" but is instead our best guess based on the data currently available. Much of our understanding of breast cancer comes from looking at cells under a microscope and predicting how they are going to behave. Based on this research, we have determined that breast cancer starts as an abnormality in the lining of a breast duct, somewhat like rust. It then eventually breaks out of the duct and moves into the surrounding breast tissue.


Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation has a long and rich history of collaborating with other researchers, institutions, and organizations to conduct innovative research.

ImPatient Science

The majority of women today are aware of breast cancer from a fairly young age, and there are countless resources available that provide basic information about the disease, risk factors, and screening; e.g., what to do if you have an abnormal mammogram, or ten things to ask your doctor about your diagnosis. At the other end of the information spectrum, patients and family members/caregivers can become lost and discouraged by the universe of complex scientific data available about breast cancer.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)

As more women have gotten mammograms on a regular basis, DCIS has been found far more often. DCIS is a noninvasive precancer. It is not life threatening. If you have DCIS, it means that you have abnormal cells in the lining of a duct. While virtually all invasive cancer begins as DCIS, not all DCIS will go on to become an invasive cancer. An invasive cancer is one that has the potential to metastasize (spread). Right now we have no way to determine which DCIS will go on to become invasive cancer and which will not. That's why doctors recommend DCIS be treated.