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J Clin Oncol. 2001 Feb 1;19(3):628-33.

Long-term results of combined-modality therapy for locally advanced breast cancer with ipsilateral supraclavicular metastases: The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center experience.

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  • 1Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



To determine outcomes in local-regional control, disease-free survival, and overall survival in patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) who present with ipsilateral supraclavicular metastases and who are treated with combined-modality therapy.


Seventy patients with regional stage IV LABC, which is defined by our institution as LABC with ipsilateral supraclavicular adenopathy without evidence of distant disease, received treatment on three prospective trials of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. All patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and fluorouracil, or cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone. Patients then received local therapy that consisted of either total mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) or segmental mastectomy and ALND before or after irradiation. Patients with no response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy were treated with surgery and/or radiotherapy. After completion of local therapy, chemotherapy was continued for four to 15 cycles, followed by radiotherapy. Patients older than 50 years who had estrogen receptor-positive tumors received tamoxifen for 5 years.


Median follow-up was 11.6 years (range, 4.8 to 22.6 years). Disease-free survival rates at 5 and 10 years were 34% and 32%, respectively. The median disease-free survival was 1.9 years. Overall survival rates at 5 and 10 years were 41% and 31%, respectively. The median overall survival was 3.5 years. The overall response rate (partial and complete responses) to induction chemotherapy was 89%. No treatment-related deaths occurred.


Patients with ipsilateral supraclavicular metastases but no other evidence of distant metastases warrant therapy administered with curative intent, ie, combined-modality therapy consisting of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. Patients with ipsilateral supraclavicular metastases should be included in the stage IIIB category of the tumor-node-metastasis classification because their clinical course and prognosis are similar to those of patients with stage IIIB LABC.

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