Inflammatory breast cancer in Tunisia

Epidemiological and clinical trends


  • The articles in this supplement were presented at the First International Inflammatory Breast Cancer Conference, Houston, Texas, December 5-7, 2008.


Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is characterized by a peculiar geographic distribution in incidence, being described as more common in Tunisia and the region of North Africa. The authors performed a systematic review of published literature on rapidly progressing breast cancer and IBC in Tunisia and analyzed the evolution in epidemiology, clinical presentation, treatment, and therapeutic results. They collected, analyzed, and compared all the indexed Tunisian articles about rapidly progressing breast cancer and IBC since the 1970s opening of the Institut Salah Azaiz Institute in Tunis. In the 1970s, rapidly progressing breast cancer diagnosis was based on the Poussée Évolutive classification (1-3). Since the 1990s, IBC diagnosis has been based on the American Joint Committee on Cancer Poussée Évolutive 3/T4d staging. The authors compared the historical data to the most recent publications in terms of epidemiology, clinical features, treatment, and therapeutic results. The most important historical report of rapidly progressing breast cancer concerned 340 patients, representing 58.5% of a cohort of 581 breast cancer patients collected from 1969 to 1974, including 320 (55.2%) with inflammatory signs, 37(6.5%) with Poussée Évolutive 2, and 283 (48.7%) with Poussée Évolutive 3. Subsequent papers have documented a steady decrease in incidence to the current 5% to 7% T4d/IBC. Since the 1970s, Poussée Évolutive in premenopausal woman has increased from 52.5% to 75%; rural predominance has persisted. The 5-year overall survival reached 28% by the year 2000. The authors' analysis demonstrated a trend of decreasing incidence of IBC diagnoses from 50% to presently <10%, probably related to a combination of factors, including the use of more stringent criteria (Poussée Évolutive 3/T4d) for IBC diagnosis and an improvement in the socioeconomic level of Tunisia. Cancer 2010;116(11 suppl):2730–5. © 2010 American Cancer Society.