Inflammatory breast cancer—The Royal Marsden Hospital experience

A review of 155 patients treated from 1990 to 2007


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



Treatments for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) have changed over the last 15 to 20 years. The authors of this report undertook a retrospective review of patients who were treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital (RMH) to determine whether recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) have improved as treatment regimens have altered.


Detailed clinical-pathologic data were collected on patients who were treated for primary IBC at RMH between 1990 and 2007. A Cox regression model was used to investigate the factors that influenced OS.


The median OS was 3 years and 4 months, and the median RFS was 1 year and 10 months. RFS was better in patients who had received taxane-containing regimens; however, there was no OS benefit. A pathologic complete response (pCR) was observed in 13 of 89 patients (15%), and those who achieved a pCR had significantly better RFS but no improvement in OS. The type of chemotherapy did not affect the pCR rate. One hundred thirty of 155 patients received radiotherapy, and those who did not receive radiotherapy had significantly worse outcomes. A multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that the date of diagnosis, estrogen receptor (ER) status, and the presence of metastatic disease at diagnosis were significant prognostic factors. Patients who were diagnosed during or after 2000 had a relative risk of mortality of 0.5 compared with patients who were diagnosed before 2000. ER-positive patients had a median OS of 4.5 years and a median of RFS of 2.6 years versus 2.9 years and 1.4 years, respectively, for ER-negative patients. Patients who had metastatic disease at presentation had an OS of 1.7 years versus 3.9 years for those without metastatic disease at presentation.


Achieving a pCR improved RFS but had no impact on OS. Patients who had metastatic disease at the outset fared much worse, and positive ER status conferred a better outlook. Cancer 2010;116(11 suppl):2815–20. © 2010 American Cancer Society.