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Study underscores aggressive approach to inflammatory breast cancer



Aggressive resection to negative margins, combined with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and postsurgical radiation, resulted in a 96% 5-year locoregional recurrence-free survival in nonmetastatic inflammatory breast cancer, Kelly Rosso, MD, reported.

Dr. Rosso of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, and her colleagues identified 277 women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer between 2007 and 2015 from a prospective database; 114 of those had nonmetastatic disease and received aggressive trimodality therapy with curative intent.

Dr. Kelly Rosso, breast surgical oncology fellow, MD anderson cancer center

Dr. Kelly Rosso

Trimodality therapy at MD Anderson is defined as neoadjuvant chemotherapy and targeted systemic therapies followed by aggressive surgical resection to negative surgical margins and specific radiotherapy, Dr. Rosso said.

Median age at diagnosis was 52 years and all patients were diagnosed at Stage III; 55% presented with N2 disease while 45% presented with N3. Patients were followed for a median 3.6 years.

“Historically, prognosis for patients with inflammatory breast cancer has been very poor,” Dr. Rosso said at a press conference in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. “Data from our institution has failed to identify any significant improvement in survival from the 1970s to the 2000s.”

In this study, 29 patients died and 4 experienced a locoregional recurrence (3.5%) during follow-up. The 2-year probability of locoregional recurrence was low, at 3.19%, while the 2-year probability of recurrence or distant metastasis was 23.1%. The 5-year disease-free survival was 72.5%, significantly lower than local/regional recurrence-free survival because some patients developed metastatic cancer in other organs, Dr. Rosso reported.

Diminished overall survival and increased risk for recurrence or metastasis were more likely in women over the age of 65 years and those with HER2-negative status, limited clinical response to chemotherapy, and absence of a pathologically complete response. Recurrence or metastasis also were more likely in women with Stage IIIC disease and more lymphovascular involvement.

“It is encouraging to see the high 5-year breast cancer specific survival rates reported in this cohort,” Judy C. Boughey, MD, professor of surgery and vice chair of research at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., said in a statement. “This study supports that the current management of these patients with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, mastectomy and post-mastectomy radiation is the optimal multimodal approach for inflammatory breast cancer. The improvements in systemic therapy, with increased use of directed therapy, being used in breast cancer, together with appropriate local-regional therapies, is likely responsible for the improvement in survival over historical cohorts.”

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