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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2000 Dec;64(3):269-73.

Inflammatory breast carcinoma: pathological or clinical entity?

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  • 1lnstituto Valenciano de Oncologi√°, Valencia, Spain.


Inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC) diagnosis is usually based in the presence of typical clinical symptoms (redness and edema in more than 2/3 of the breast), which are not always associated with pathologic characteristics (subdermal lymphatics involvement). Whether exclusively pathologic findings without clinical symptoms are sufficient for IBC diagnosis remains controversial. A retrospective analysis of 163 clinically diagnosed IBC (CIC) either with dermal lymphatics invasion or not, was compared with another group of 99 patients with dermal lymphatics invasion without clinical symptoms (occult inflammatory carcinoma) (OIC). The following clinical and pathological characteristics have been analyzed and compared: age, menopausal status, clinical axillar node involvement, symptoms duration before diagnosis, grade, estrogen receptors, presence of metastases at diagnosis, local recurrence, metastasic dissemination, disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Median age was younger in CIC (52.3 vs. 63.8 years; p < 0.001). Symptom duration before diagnosis were significantly shorter in CIC (3.4 vs. 6.8 months: p < 0.0001). Visceral (36.2% vs. 17.2%; p = 0.001) and brain metastases (7.4% vs. 1%; p = 0.02) was significantly more frequent in CIC. Negative estrogen receptors were more frequent in CIC (34.9% vs. 65.1%: p < 0.004). Five-years DFS (25.6 vs. 51.6%; p < 0.0001) and OS (28.6 vs. 40%; p < 0.05) were shorter in CIC. CIC (regardless of subdermal lymphatics involvement) must be clearly differentiated from OIC. Prognosis of CIC patients is poorer, so this two entities should be clearly differentiated when therepeutic results are reported.

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