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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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Department of Medical Oncoilogy and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.



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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