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Am J Clin Oncol. 2002 Apr;25(2):172-7.

Clinical outcome and prognosis of patients with inflammatory breast cancer.

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Hospital Municipal de Oncologia MarĂ­a Curie, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


This report analyzes clinical factors affecting outcome in 26 patients with inflammatory breast cancer. Peau d'orange was the most common clinical finding at diagnosis (65%). A palpable breast mass (PBM) was noted in 65% with axillary lymph node involvement in 81% of patients. Eighteen patients were staged as stage IIIB and eight as stage IV. Initial metastases included supraclavicular nodes (five of eight), bones (one of eight), skin (one of eight), and liver (one of eight). All patients were treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and fluorouracil, 18 patients; other, 8 patients). Partial response was the best clinical response attained in 38% of patients. Only one patient was treated with total mastectomy after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 19 patients received radiotherapy followed (2 patients) or not (17 patients) by mastectomy. The progression rate in stage IIIB patients was 78%, with distant sites of progression in 93% of patients and only 7% with local progression. Mean time-to-progression was 13 months (Kaplan-Meier estimates of 45% and 11% at 24 and 48 months, respectively). The median overall survival (OS) value of the entire population was 13.2 months (Kaplan-Meier estimates at 24 and 48 months of 21% and 12.5%). By Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test, a better OS was correlated with stage IIIB (p = 0.002), a PBM at diagnosis (p = 0.01), and a favorable response to initial chemotherapy (p = 0.03). Our results confirm the better clinical outcome of patients with stage IIIB and PBM at diagnosis. They also support the role for combined treatment as the best modality approach for this disease. However, overall prognosis remained poor, with recurrence and death resulting from the disease.

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