Yale Public Health Professor Receives Grant to Study Non-Invasive Breast Cancer

Elizabeth B. Claus, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine, has been awarded a two-year, $250,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to study breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive form of breast cancer.

Claus will study how outcomes for women diagnosed with DCIS differ for women with and without mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, two genes associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Currently few women with DCIS have been tested for disease-associated mutations in BRCA genes although a recent study conducted by Claus and her colleagues found that women diagnosed with DCIS are as likely to carry BRCA mutations as are women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

“The total number of women with DCIS who have been tested for BRCA mutations is small and no one research center has a sufficient number of patients for study,” said Claus, who is a member of the Yale Cancer Center. 

In order to evaluate a sufficiently large group of women who are BRCA1 or BRCA2 carriers diagnosed with DCIS, Claus plans to combine data from a number of other cancer centers, including the University of Pennsylvania, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial-Sloan Kettering. The study will help define preliminary estimates of outcome and to better define treatment goals for these women.

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Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326