Why is the COMET Study needed?
You may be surprised to hear that doctors and scientists do not agree with each other about how to describe and treat low-risk DCIS. This is because there has not been enough research about the outcomes of treatment. Because of this, there are differing opinions among doctors. Each year in the United States, more than 50,000 women are diagnosed with DCIS. Guidelines currently recommend that DCIS should be treated in the same way as invasive breast cancer. Almost all patients in the United States (98%) receive surgery to remove the DCIS, and almost half also have radiation therapy following their surgery. Only a small number of patients currently choose not to have surgery or radiation for their DCIS because it is not widely available as an option.
However, studies indicate that many women with low-risk DCIS may not develop invasive breast cancer in the absence of surgery. Many breast cancer doctors and researchers now believe that it might be possible to monitor low-risk DCIS rather than operate right away, but they are currently unable to do so without better evidence.
The COMET Study is being conducted across the United States to compare two treatment approaches for low-risk DCIS: Active Monitoring and Surgery. The COMET study is needed because these treatment approaches have not been compared directly before in patients with low-risk DCIS. We need to understand more about the experiences and outcomes of patients receiving these treatment approaches. The results will enable doctors and patients to better understand the risks and benefits of Active Monitoring and Surgery, and whether both should be recommended for patients with low-risk DCIS in the future.