With the increasing incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast and its relationship to invasive breast carcinoma, it is important to understand the biology of this entity. We report on a hospital-based survey of 219 case subjects with DCIS of the breast without associated invasive carcinoma diagnosed between 1982 and 1994. The cases of DCIS were analyzed for architectural type, size, nuclear grade, necrosis, calcification, periductal fibrosis, neovascularization, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and HER-2/neu expression. Periductal neovascularization was associated with tumor size, microcalcifications, periductal fibrosis, and HER-2/neu overexpression. Expression of ER and PR was observed in 60 and 62% of the cases, respectively, and HER-2/neu overexpression in 28% of the cases. ER and PR expression were both inversely associated with comedo histology and nuclear grade. HER-2/neu overexpression was positively associated with comedo histology, high nuclear grade, and periductal neovascularization and was inversely correlated with both ER and PR expression. High nuclear grade was positively associated with comedocarcinoma, necrosis, microcalcification, and periductal fibrosis. The role of these molecular/pathologic markers in the biology of DCIS and their potential clinical implications are discussed.