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Clin Cancer Res. 2004 Sep 15;10(18 Pt 1):6215-21.

p53 expression as a prognostic marker in inflammatory breast cancer.

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



Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Nuclear expression of p53 protein in breast cancer correlates with more aggressive tumors. We retrospectively analyze the expression of p53 as a prognostic marker to predict pathological complete response and survival in patients with IBC.


Fifty-nine patients with IBC were treated from January 1994 to April 2000. Forty-eight patients were included. Diagnostic core biopsies were taken before treatment was started. Expression of hormone receptors and p53 was determined by immunohistochemistry. All patients received an anthracycline-based regimen preoperatively; 22 patients (46%) also received paclitaxel. Forty-four patients (92%) achieved an objective clinical response and underwent mastectomies.


Median age at diagnosis was 48 years. Thirty patients (63%) had hormone receptor-negative tumors. Twenty-eight patients (58%) had p53-positive tumors, and 20 patients (42%) had p53-negative tumors. Nine patients (19%) achieved a pathological complete response. At a median follow-up of 77 months, 28 recurrences (58%) and 26 deaths (54%) had occurred. Patients with p53-positive tumors were younger (P=0.02) and tended to have lower 5-year progression-free survival rates (35% versus 55%; P=0.3) and overall survival rates (44% versus 54%; P=0.4).


This retrospective analysis demonstrates that nuclear p53 protein expression may represent an adverse prognostic marker in IBC and may provide a valuable tool for selecting treatment for this aggressive disease.

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