Identifying factors that impact survival among women with inflammatory breast cancer

S. Dawood*, N. T. Ueno, V. Valero, W. A. Woodward, T. A. Buchholz, G. N. Hortobagyi, A. M. Gonzalez-angulo, M. Cristofanilli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: The objective of this retrospective study was to determine factors impacting survival among women with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Methods: The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Registry (SEER) was searched to identify women with stage III/IV IBC diagnosed between 2004 and 2007. IBC was identified within SEER as T4d disease as defined by the sixth edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer. The Kaplan-Meier product-limit method was used to describe inflammatory breast cancer-specific survival (IBCS). Cox models were fitted to assess the multivariable relationship of various patient and tumor characteristics and IBCS. Results: Two thousand three hundred and eighty-four women with stage IIIB/C and IV IBC were identified. Two-year IBCS among women with stage IIIB, IIIC and IV disease was 81%, 67% and 42%, respectively (P < 0.0001). In the multivariable model, patients with stage IIIB disease and those with stage IIIC disease had a 63% [hazard ratio (HR) 0.373, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.296-0.470, P < 0.001] and 31% (HR 0.691, 95% CI 0.512-0.933, P = 0.016) decreased risk of death from IBC, respectively, compared with women with stage IV disease. Other factors significantly associated with decreased risk of death from IBC included low-grade tumors, being of white/other race, undergoing surgery, receiving radiation therapy and hormone receptor-positive disease. Among women with stage IV disease, those who underwent surgery of their primary had a 51% decreased risk of death compared with those who did not undergo surgery (HR = 0.489, 95% CI 0.339-0.704, P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Although IBC is an aggressive subtype of locally advanced breast cancer, it is heterogeneous with various factors affecting survival. Furthermore, our results indicate that a subgroup of women with stage IV IBC may benefit from aggressive combined modality management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-875
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Stage III/IV
  • Subgroups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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