ABSTRACT: Between 1978 and 1987, 109 patients without metastatic disease were treated by induction chemotherapy for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) or “neglected” locally advanced breast cancer (LABC): 62 patients had a clinical history of rapidly growing tumours (doubling time ⩽ 4 months) and inflammatory signs; conversely, the 47 neglected patients had local inflammation with a longer history of LABC. 103 patients were fully evaluable. All patients received the same induction chemotherapy with doxorubicin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide and 5-fluorouracil. After six cycles, locoregional treatment was by radiotherapy if a complete or nearly complete response had been obtained, and total mastectomy, with pre or postoperative radiotherapy, in other cases. The chemotherapy after local treatment comprised of six cycles for LABC and 12 cycles for IBC (six without doxorubicin). With a median follow-up of 120 months, the median overall survival (OS) time was 70 months as against 45 months for disease-free survival (DFS). No difference was observed for OS and DFS between LABC and IBC. The regional recurrence rate was 24% (15% for radiotherapy alone). 20 factors of potential prognostic significance were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analysis. For DFS and OS, univariate analysis suggested a worse prognostic significance for “peau d'orange” appearance of the skin, clinical evidence of node involvement and poor response to chemotherapy after three cycles, on mammographic criteria. The cumulative dose of doxorubicin after three cycles seemed to have a significant effect on OS (P < 0.03) but was too closely correlated with age to draw definite conclusions. In the multivariate analysis, “peau d'orange”, menopausal staus and clinical node involvement predicted DFS. “Peau d'orange” and clinical node involvement also predicted OS. Our results indicate that IBC and LABC do not behave differently when treated with our procedure.
European Journal of Cancer.