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The c-myc oncogene is frequently activated in invasive breast cancer and has been associated with high nuclear grade, lymph node metastasis and poorer disease outcome. We have examined c-myc oncogene amplification using fluorescence in situ hybridization in a series of 96 pure DCIS. Additionally we assessed amplification and expression of the Her2 and bcl-2 oncogenes. The findings were compared with clinicopathological data, Ki-67 proliferative index and hormone receptor status. We observed c-myc oncogene amplification in 19 tumours (20%). These cases were significantly associated with an average of 38% higher proliferative activity (p = 0.045), a 43% larger tumour size (p = 0.029) and the otherwise rare micropapillary subtype (p = 0.0005). Concluding the c-myc oncogene appears to be involved in the development of a more aggressive phenotype of DCIS.