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Anticancer Res. 2001 Jul-Aug;21(4B):3061-7.

Chemotherapy and concomitant irradiation in inflammatory breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy CHU DUPUYTREN, Limoges, France.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of concurrent chemotherapy and irradiation in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Between January 1990 and December 1998, forty-eight non-metastatic patients with clinical or occult IBC were treated with chemotherapy and irradiation. The induction chemotherapy consisted of epirubicin, cyclophosphamide and vindesin, in association with split-course bi-fractionated irradiation to a total dose of 65 Gy with concomitant cisplatin and fluorouracil. Maintenance chemotherapy consisted of high-dose methotrexate and 6 cycles of epirubicin, cyclophosphamide and fluorouracil Hormonal treatment was given routinely but mastectomies were not routinely performed. A high rate of locoregional control was obtained in 47 evaluable patients of whom 93.6 % achieved a complete clinical response. Three patients had locoregional relapses, always with concomitant metastatic dissemination. In 47 patients, 21 developed metastatic dissemination with a median delay of 23 months. Median disease-free survival (DFS) was 45 months. Median overall survival (OS) has not yet been reached after a median follow-up of 44.5 months. The 3-year DFS rate was 53 % and the 3-year OS rate was 71 %. Toxicity was mainly hematological. During the induction therapy, grade 3 or 4 neutropenia occurred in 54 % of patients, grade 3 or 4 thrombocytopenia in 23 % and grade 3 or 4 anemia in 8 %. The administration of induction chemotherapy and concomitant irradiation is feasible in patients with IBC. The hematological toxicity of this treatment approach is significant but nevertheless, the treatment achieves a high degree of locoregional control and improved survivaL

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