Inflammatory breast cancer still has a poor prognosis despite improvements related to the introduction of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate pathologic response rate and outcome of patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy with haematopoietic stem cell support for IBC. Seventeen consecutive patients with IBC received an association of mitoxantrone (36 mg/m2), cyclophosphamide (120 mg/kg), melphalan (140 mg/m2), with stem cell transplantation (SCT) following four to five cycles of cyclophosphamide (1000 mg/m2), doxorubicin (75 mg/m2) and 5FU (500 mg/m2). Mastectomy was performed a median of 2 months (range 1.5-45) after high-dose chemotherapy and was followed by radiotherapy. Macroscopic and microscopic pathologic complete response rates were respectively 56 and 39%. With a median follow-up of 36 months (range 17-52) 10 patients remain alive free of disease and seven patients have relapsed. Two relapses occurred in the group of patients with pathologic CR and five in the group with residual tumour. These results show that high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) with alkylating agents followed by SCT allows a very high tumour eradication in inflammatory breast cancer, suggesting a possible global benefit in progression-free survival and survival which remains to be demonstrated prospectively.