Various patient, treatment, and pathologic factors have been associated with an increased risk of local recurrence (LR) following breast-conserving therapy (BCT) for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). However, the strength and importance of individual factors has varied; whether combining factors improves prediction, particularly in community practice, is uncertain. In a large, population-based cohort of women with DCIS treated with BCT in three community-based practices, we assessed the validity of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) DCIS nomogram, which combines clinical, pathologic, and treatment features to predict LR. We reviewed slides of patients with unilateral DCIS treated with BCT. Regression methods were used to estimate risks of LR. The MSKCC DCIS nomogram was applied to the study population to compare the nomogram-predicted and observed LR at 5 and 10 years. The 495 patients in our study were grouped into quartiles and octiles to compare observed and nomogram-predicted LR. The 5-year absolute risk of recurrence for lowest and highest quartiles was 4.8 and 33.1 % (95 % CI 3.1-6.4 and 24.2-40.9, respectively; p < 0.0001). The overall correlation between 10-year nomogram-predicted recurrences and observed recurrences was 0.95. Compared with observed 10-year LR rates, the risk estimates provided by the nomogram showed good correlation, and reasonable discrimination with a c-statistic of 0.68. The MSKCC DCIS nomogram provided good prediction of the 5- and 10-year LR when applied to a population of patients with DCIS treated with BCT in a community-based practice. This nomogram, therefore, is a useful treatment decision aid for patients with DCIS.