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J Clin Oncol. 1986 Dec;4(12):1765-71.

Primary chemotherapy in the treatment of inflammatory breast carcinoma: a study of 230 cases from the Institut Gustave-Roussy.


We report the largest series of induction chemotherapy for inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC). Results of two chemotherapy protocols with radiation therapy (RT) (170 patients) are compared with results with radiation alone (60 patients) in the treatment of this disease. From 1973 to 1975, 60 patients (control, group C) received RT (45 Gy and 20 to 30 Gy boost) and hormonal manipulation. From 1976 to 1980, 91 patients (group A) were treated with induction chemotherapy: Adriamycin (Adria Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio), vincristine, and methotrexate (AVM) and RT on a cyclical schedule; and maintenance chemotherapy: vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (VCF). From 1980 to 1982, 79 patients (group B) received induction chemotherapy, Adriamycin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-FU (AVCMF) and RT on a cyclical schedule and VCF maintenance. Hormonal manipulation was performed in all groups. Disease-free survival at 4 years was 15% for group C, 32% for group A, and 54% for group B (P less than .005 group C v group A, less than .00001 group C v group B, and less than .01 group A v group B). Total survival at 4 years was 42% for group C, 53% for group A, and 74% for group B (P = .17 group C v group A, less than .00001 group C v group B, and less than .001 group A v group B). Clinical assessment of tumor aggressiveness, nodal status, type of chemotherapy administered, and early response to chemotherapy (by third course) were all prognostic factors. There is an important, highly statistically significant benefit in terms of both disease-free survival and total survival observed in patients treated with the addition of chemotherapy compared with radiation alone in IBC.

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