Introduction: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an aggressive form of breast cancer associated with overexpression of Her2/Neu (human epidermal growth factor-like receptor 2 (HER2)) and poor survival. We investigated survival differences for IBC patient cases based on hormone receptor status and HER2 receptor status using data from the California Cancer Registry, as contrasted with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC), metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and non-T4 breast cancer.
Methods: A case-only analysis of 80,099 incident female breast cancer patient cases in the California Cancer Registry during 1999 to 2003 was performed, with follow-up through March 2007. Overall survival (OS) and breast cancer-specific survival (BC-SS) were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazards ratios.
Results: A total of 2,014 IBC, 1,268 LABC, 3,059 MBC, and 73,758 non-T4 breast cancer patient cases were identified. HER2+ was associated with advanced tumor stage (P < 0.0001). IBC patient cases were more likely to be HER2+ (40%) and less likely to be hormone receptor-positive (HmR+) (59%) compared with LABC (35% and 69%, respectively), MBC (35% and 74%), and non-T4 patient cases (22% and 82%). HmR+ status was associated with improved OS and BC-SS for each breast cancer subtype after adjustment for clinically relevant factors. In multivariate analysis, HER2+ (versus HER2-) status was associated with poor BC-SS for non-T4 patient cases (hazards ratio = 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.28) and had a borderline significant association with improved BC-SS for IBC (hazards ratio = 0.82, 95% confidence interval = 0.68 to 0.99).
Conclusions: Despite an association with advanced tumor stage, HER2+ status is not an independent adverse prognostic factor for survival among IBC patient cases.