Disease-free and overall survival after pathologic complete disease remission of cytologically proven inflammatory breast carcinoma axillary lymph node metastases after primary systemic chemotherapy

Bryan T. Hennessy*, Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, Massimo Cristofanilli, Shu Wan Kau, Kristine Broglio, Bruno Fornage, S. Eva Singletary, Aysegul Sahin, Aman U. Buzdar, Vicente Valero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND. Breast carcinoma axillary lymph node (ALN) pathologic complete response (pCR) after primary chemotherapy is associated with significantly higher recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) rates. The purpose of the current study was to determine long-term outcome in patients achieving a pCR of cytologically proven inflammatory breast carcinoma ALN metastases after primary chemotherapy. METHODS. Patients with cytologically documented ALN metastases from inflammatory breast carcinoma were treated in three prospective primary chemotherapy trials. After surgery, patients were subdivided into those patients with and those patients without residual ALN carcinoma. Survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. RESULTS. Of 175 patients treated, 61 had cytologically confirmed ALN metastases. Fourteen patients (23%) achieved a pCR of the ALNs after primary chemotherapy. The 5-year OS and RFS rates were found to be improved in those patients achieving a pCR of the ALNs (82.5% [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 62.8-100%] and 78.6% [95%CI, 59.8-100%], respectively, vs. 37.1% [95%CI, 25.4-54.2%] and 25.4% [95%CI, 15.5-41.5%], respectively) (P = 0.01 [for OS] and P = 0.001 [for RFS]). Combination anthracycline and taxane-based primary chemotherapy resulted in significantly more patients achieving an ALN pCR (45% vs. 16%; P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS. pCR of ALN metastases is associated with an excellent prognosis in patients with inflammatory breast carcinoma. The rates of ALN pCR are nearly 50% in patients with inflammatory breast carcinoma who are treated with anthracyclines and weekly paclitaxel before surgery. However, those patients with residual ALN disease at the time of surgery greatly require the introduction of novel therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1000-1006
Number of pages7
JournalCancer
Volume106
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

Keywords

  • Breast carcinoma
  • Chemotherapy
  • Inflammatory
  • Pathologic complete response
  • Primary tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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