Purpose: To assess the benefit of breast surgery for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).
Methods and materials: This retrospective series was based on 232 patients treated for IBC. All patients received primary chemotherapy followed by either exclusive radiotherapy (118 patients; 51%) or surgery with or without radiotherapy (114 patients; 49%). The median follow-up was 11 years.
Results: The two groups were comparable apart from fewer tumors <70 mm (43% vs. 33%, p = 0.003), a higher rate of clinical stage N2 (15% vs. 5%, p = 0.04), and fewer histopathologic Grade 3 tumors (46% vs. 61%, p <0.05) in the no-surgery group. The addition of surgery was associated with a significant improvement in locoregional disease control (p = 0.04) at 10 years locoregional free interval 78% vs. 59% but with no significant difference in overall survival rates or disease-free intervals. Late toxicities were not significantly different between the two treatment groups except for a higher rate of fibrosis in the no-surgery group (p <0.0001) and more lymphedema in the surgery group (p = 0.002).
Conclusion: Our data suggest an improvement in locoregional control in patients treated by surgery, in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, for IBC. Efforts must be made to improve overall survival.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.