Paclitaxel improves the prognosis in estrogen receptor-negative inflammatory breast cancer: The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center experience

Massimo Cristofanilli*, Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, Aman U. Buzdar, Shu Wan Kau, Debbie K. Frye, Gabriel N. Hortobagyi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The treatment of inflammatory breast cancer includes preoperative anthracycline-based chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. In the past few years, taxanes, mianly paclitaxel, have been frequently used for preoperative chemotherapy, usually in sequence with anthracycline. The purpose of this retrospective analysis was to determine how adding paclitaxel to anthracyline-based regimens affects prognosis. A total of 240 patients treated in 6 consecutive trials between 1973 and 2000 were included in the analysis. Group 1 = 178) consisted of patients treated in the first 4 trials (1973-1993) with FAC (5-fluorouracil/doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide)-based regimens. Group 2 (N = 62) consisted of patients treated in the last 2 trials (1994-2000) with FAC followed by paclitaxel given every 3 weeks or given in a high-dose weekly schedule. The 2 groups differed with respect to median follow-up duration, which were 148 months (range, 85-283 months) in group 1 and 45 months (range, 21-99 months) in group 2. Estrogen receptor (ER) status was negative in 58 cases (33%) in group 1 and 40 cases (65%) in group 2. There was no difference in median age between the groups. The objective response rates (complete and partial) were similar (group 1, 74%; group 2, 82%). The median overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were better in the patients treated with paclitaxel, and these defferences reached statistical significance in the patients with ER-negative disease (median OS: group 1, 32 months; group 2, 54 months; P = 0.03; median PFS: group 1, 18 months; group 2, 27 months; P = 0.04). It may be concluded that the addition of paclitaxel to anthracycline-based therapy resulted in a statistically significant improvement in outcome in patients with ER-negative inflammatory breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-419
Number of pages5
JournalClinical breast cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Anthracyclines
  • Chemotherapy
  • Taxanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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