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Keywords:

  • breast neoplasms;
  • radiation therapy;
  • treatment outcome;
  • neoadjuvant therapy

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The objectives of this study were to summarize a single-institution experience in treating patients with inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC) using trimodality therapy and to identify prognostic factors for outcome.

METHODS

Sixty-one women underwent radiation therapy with curative intent for IBC between 1982 and 2001. All but five women received trimodality therapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was given to the majority of women (n = 43 patients), although some received “up-front” surgery as first therapy (n = 18 patients).

RESULTS

With a median potential observation time after diagnosis of 14 years, freedom from locoregional disease progression was 78%, freedom from distant metastasis was 45%, and the cause-specific survival rate was 47% at 5 years. Approximately 40% of the 56 patients who received trimodality therapy remained free of disease. Multivariate analysis demonstrated three factors that were found to be associated significantly with improved cause-specific survival: pathologic tumor size < 4 cm (P = 0.0001), up-front surgery (P = 0.0078), and local disease control (P = 0.0003). Factors that were found to be associated with better freedom from locoregional disease progression were pathologic tumor size (< 4 cm; P = 0.0157), age (> 55 years; P = 0.0596), and radiation dose (≥ 60 grays [Gy]; P = 0.0621).

CONCLUSIONS

IBC is an aggressive disease that is treated effectively in select patients by multimodality therapy. Patient outcomes may be improved with therapies that result in better local and systemic control. Further studies are warranted to address the optimal sequence of trimodality therapy and the optimal administration of each agent. Cancer 2004;100:920–8. © 2004 American Cancer Society.