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J Clin Oncol. 2004 May 15;22(10):1839-48.

Prognostic indicators and survival in patients with stage IIIB inflammatory breast carcinoma after dose-intense chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncoilogy and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA. gsomlo@coh.org



To improve treatment outcome for patients presenting with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), we have sequentially developed and tested single and tandem dose-intense chemotherapy regimens (DICT). Tumor- and treatment-related factors were analyzed to generate a prognostic model.


Between May 1989 and April 2002, 120 patients received conventional-dose chemotherapy, surgery, and sequentially developed single- or tandem-cycle DICT. Disease- and treatment-specific features were subjected to univariate and multivariate analysis to correlate with outcome.


At a median follow-up of 61 months (range, 21 to 161 months), estimated 5-year relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were 44% (95% CI, 34% to 53%) and 64% (95% CI, 55% to 73%), respectively. In an age-adjusted multivariate analysis, RFS was better in patients with estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR)-positive tumors (P =.002), for patients with fewer than four involved axillary nodes before DICT (P =.01), and in patients treated with radiation therapy (P =.001) and tandem DICT (P =.049). OS was improved in patients with ER/PR-positive tumors (P =.002), in those with fewer than four involved axillary nodes before DICT (P =.03), and in patients treated with radiation therapy (P =.002).


This retrospective analysis suggests that either single or tandem DICT can be administered safely and may benefit selected patients with stage IIIB IBC. Those with receptor-negative IBC and with four or more involved axillary nodes before DICT need improved neoadjuvant and postadjuvant intensification therapy. A prospective randomized trial of single versus tandem DICT would be required to confirm the potential benefit of tandem DICT in the setting of IBC.

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