The biological and prognostic role of hormone receptor status and proliferative activity have been studied in two series of patients affected by inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC, 28 patients) and locally advanced breast cancer (LABC, 50 patients). Estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PgR) were measured by dextran-coated charcoal (DCC) method whereas proliferative activity was measured by 3H-thymidine autoradiographic labeling index (LI). The percentages of ER+ and PgR+ cases resulted lower in IBC than in LABC (ER+, 44% versus 64%; PgR+, 30% versus 51%, respectively), pertaining to both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Inflammatory breast carcinoma showed a higher median LI value than LABC (3.5% versus 1.6%; P = 0.006). Regarding clinical aspects, time to progression (TTP) in IBC patients was not affected by hormone receptor status (19 evaluable patients) or by LI (17 evaluable patients); PgR+ status and low LI resulted important for individualizing women with a longer median overall survival (OS). Inflammatory breast carcinoma has been verified to be a heterogeneous biological entity for which hormone receptors and cell kinetics could be useful in identifying patients with different prognoses and therefore candidates for a personalized therapy.