Selected 2005 and 2004 Inflammatory Breast Cancer published research.

More recent research (2005) is at the top of the page, 2004 research is further down the page.

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Dressman, HK., et al. (2005). Gene expression profiles of multiple breast cancer phenotypes and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Clinical Cancer Research, 12(3 (pt 1)), 819-26. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

PURPOSE: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, and markers for disease subtypes and therapy response remain poorly defined. For that reason, we employed a prospective neoadjuvant study in locally advanced breast cancer to identify molecular signatures of gene expression correlating with known prognostic clinical phenotypes, such as inflammatory breast cancer or the presence of hypoxia. In addition, we defined molecular signatures that correlate with response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Tissue was collected under ultrasound guidance from patients with stage IIB/III breast cancer before four cycles of neoadjuvant liposomal doxorubicin paclitaxel chemotherapy combined with local whole breast hyperthermia. Gene expression analysis was done using Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 GeneChip arrays. RESULTS: Gene expression patterns were identified that defined the phenotypes of inflammatory breast cancer as well as tumor hypoxia. In addition, molecular signatures were identified that predicted the persistence of malignancy in the axillary lymph nodes after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This persistent lymph node signature significantly correlated with disease-free survival in two separate large populations of breast cancer patients. CONCLUSIONS: Gene expression signatures have the capacity to identify clinically significant features of breast cancer and can predict which individual patients are likely to be resistant to neoadjuvant therapy, thus providing the opportunity to guide treatment decisions.

Hance, KW., et al. (2005). Trends in inflammatory breast carcinoma incidence and survival: the surveillance, epidemiology, and end results program at the National Cancer Institute. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 97(13), 966-75. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

BACKGROUND: Inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC) appears to be a clinicopathologic entity distinct from noninflammatory locally advanced breast cancer (LABC). We examined incidence and survival trends for IBC in Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program data with a case definition designed to capture many of its unique clinical and pathologic characteristics. METHODS: We analyzed breast cancer cases diagnosed in the SEER 9 Registries (n = 180,224), between 1988 and 2000. Breast cancer cases were categorized using SEER’s “Extent of Disease” codes in combination with International Classification of Diseases for Oncology morphology code 8530/3 and classified as IBC (n = 3648), LABC (n = 3636), and non-T4 breast cancer (n = 172,940). We compared changes in incidence rates over 3-year intervals by breast cancer subtype and race using SEER*Stat. Survival differences by breast cancer subtype and race were assessed using Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank statistics. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS: Between 1988 and 1990 and 1997 and 1999, IBC incidence rates (per 100,000 woman-years) increased from 2.0 to 2.5 (P < .001), whereas those for LABC declined (2.5 to 2.0, P = .0025), as did those for non-T4 breast cancer (108 to 101, P = .0084). IBC incidence rates were statistically significantly higher in black women (3.1) than in white women (2.2) during the study period (P < .001). Women diagnosed with IBC had statistically significantly poorer survival than women with either LABC or non-T4 breast cancer (log-rank test, P < .001). Median survival of women with IBC (2.9 years) was statistically significantly shorter than that of women with LABC (6.4 years; P < .0001) or non-T4 breast cancer (> 10 years, P < .0001). Black women with IBC or LABC had poorer survival than white women with IBC or LABC, respectively (log-rank test, P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Throughout the 1990s, IBC incidence rose, and survival improved modestly. Substantial racial differences were noted in age at diagnosis, age-specific incidence rates, and survival outcomes.

Hoffmeyer, MR., Wall, KM., & Dharmawardhane, SF. (2005). In vitro analysis of the invasive phenotype of sum 149, an inflammatory breast cancer cell line. Cancer Cell International, 5(1), 11. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

BACKGROUND: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most lethal form of locally invasive breast cancer known. However, very little information is available on the cellular mechanisms responsible for manifestation of the IBC phenotype. To understand the unique phenotype of IBC, we compared the motile and adhesive interactions of an IBC cell line, SUM 149, to the non-IBC cell line SUM 102. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that both IBC and non-IBC cell lines exhibit similar adhesive properties to basal lamina, but SUM 149 showed a marked increase in adhesion to collagen I. In vitro haptotaxis assays demonstrate that SUM 149 was less invasive, while wound healing assays show a less in vitro migratory phenotype for SUM 149 cells relative to SUM 102 cells. We also demonstrate a role for Rho and E-cadherin in the unique invasive phenotype of IBC. Immunoblotting reveals higher E-cadherin and RhoA expression in the IBC cell line but similar RhoC expression. Rhodamine phalloidin staining demonstrates increased formation of actin stress fibers and larger focal adhesions in SUM 149 relative to the SUM 102 cell line. CONCLUSION: The observed unique actin and cellular architecture as well as the invasive and adhesive responses to the extracellular matrix of SUM 149 IBC cells suggest that the preference of IBC cells for connective tissue, possibly a mediator important for the vasculogenic mimicry via tubulogenesis seen in IBC pathological specimens. Overexpression of E-cadherin and RhoA may contribute to passive dissemination of IBC by promoting cell-cell adhesion and actin cytoskeletal structures that maintain tissue integrity. Therefore, we believe that these findings indicate a passive metastatic mechanism by which IBC cells invade the circulatory system as tumor emboli rather than by active migratory mechanisms.

Bertucci, F., et al. (2005). Gene expression profiling identifies molecular subtypes of inflammatory breast cancer. Cancer Research, 65(6), 2170-8. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease. Comprehensive gene expression profiles obtained using DNA microarrays have revealed previously indistinguishable subtypes of noninflammatory breast cancer (NIBC) related to different features of mammary epithelial biology and significantly associated with survival. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare, particular, and aggressive form of disease. Here we have investigated whether the five molecular subtypes described for NIBC (luminal A and B, basal, ERBB2 overexpressing, and normal breast-like) were also present in IBC. We monitored the RNA expression of approximately 8,000 genes in 83 breast tissue samples including 37 IBC, 44 NIBC, and 2 normal breast samples. Hierarchical clustering identified the five subtypes of breast cancer in both NIBC and IBC samples. These subtypes were highly similar to those defined in previous studies and associated with similar histoclinical features. The robustness of this classification was confirmed by the use of both alternative gene set and analysis method, and the results were corroborated at the protein level. Furthermore, we show that the differences in gene expression between NIBC and IBC and between IBC with and without pathologic complete response that we have recently reported persist in each subtype. Our results show that the expression signatures defining molecular subtypes of NIBC are also present in IBC. Obtained using different patient series and different microarray platforms, they reinforce confidence in the expression-based molecular taxonomy but also give evidence for its universality in breast cancer, independently of a specific clinical form.

Hurley, J., et al. (2005). Weekly docetaxel/carboplatin as primary systemic therapy for her2-negative locally advanced breast cancer. Clinical Breast Cancer, 5(6), 447-54. Abstract below, free full text not available.

To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of weekly docetaxel/carboplatin as primary systemic therapy (PST) for locally advanced breast cancer, we conducted a phase II study. Forty-four patients with HER2-negative locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) received docetaxel 35 mg/m(2) and carboplatin to an area under the curve of 2 mg/mL/min for 3 of 4 weeks over 16 weeks. After completion of PST, patients had breast surgery and then received 4 cycles of adjuvant cyclophosphamide/doxorubicin, standard radiation therapy, and, for hormone receptorpositive tumors, tamoxifen. The mean tumor size was 9.3 cm (range, 5-24 cm). Thirty-seven patients (85%) had palpable lymph nodes; 13 patients (30%) had matted or fixed nodes (N2). Eight patients had IBC. There were 11 clinical complete responses (25%) and 29 clinical partial responses (66%), resulting in 40 objective responses (91% [95% CI, 78%-96%]). Invasive disease disappeared (pathologic complete response) from the breast and axilla in 6 patients (14% [95% CI, 5%-27%]) and from the axilla in 17 patients (39% [95% CI, 24%-55%]). The only significant adverse hematologic event was grade 3 neutropenia in 4 patients (9%). The most common adverse nonhematologic events were fatigue (84% of patients) and alopecia (84%), which were usually grade 1/2. Weekly docetaxel/carboplatin appears to be active and feasible as PST in patients with large breast tumors.

Lerebours, F., Bieche, I., & Lidereau, R. (2005). Update on inflammatory breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research, 7(2), 52-8. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is both the least frequent and the most severe form of epithelial breast cancer. The diagnosis is based on clinical inflammatory signs and is reinforced by pathological findings. Significant progress has been made in the management of IBC in the past 20 years. Yet survival among IBC patients is still only one-half that among patients with non-IBC. Identification of the molecular determinants of IBC would probably lead to more specific treatments and to improved survival. In the present article we review recent advances in the molecular pathogenesis of IBC. A more comprehensive view will probably be obtained by pan-genomic analysis of human IBC samples, and by functional in vitro and in vivo assays. These approaches may offer better patient outcome in the near future.


Bertucci, F., et al. (2004). Gene expression profiling for molecular characterization of inflammatory breast cancer and prediction of response to chemotherapy. Cancer Research, 64(23), 8558-65. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer with a 5-year survival limited to approximately 40%. Diagnosis, based on clinical and/or pathological criteria, may be difficult. Optimal systemic neoadjuvant therapy and accurate predictors of pathological response have yet to be defined for increasing response rate and survival. Using DNA microarrrays containing approximately 8,000 genes, we profiled breast cancer samples from 81 patients, including 37 with IBC and 44 with noninflammatory breast cancer (NIBC). Global unsupervised hierarchical clustering was able to some extent to distinguish IBC and NIBC cases and revealed subclasses of IBC. Supervised analysis identified a 109-gene set the expression of which discriminated IBC from NIBC samples. This molecular signature was validated in an independent series of 26 samples, with an overall performance accuracy of 85%. Discriminator genes were associated with various cellular processes possibly related to the aggressiveness of IBC, including signal transduction, cell motility, adhesion, and angiogenesis. A similar approach, with leave-one-out cross-validation, identified an 85-gene set that divided IBC patients with significantly different pathological complete response rate (70% in one group and 0% in the other group). These results show the potential of gene expression profiling to contribute to a better understanding of IBC, and to provide new diagnostic and predictive factors for IBC, as well as for potential therapeutic targets.

Bièche, I., et al. (2004). Molecular profiling of inflammatory breast cancer: identification of a poor-prognosis gene expression signature. Clinical Cancer Research, 10(20), 6789-95. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

PURPOSE: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but particularly aggressive form of primary breast cancer. The molecular mechanisms responsible for IBC are largely unknown. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: To obtain further insight into the molecular pathogenesis of IBC, we used real-time quantitative reverse transcription (RT)-PCR to quantify the mRNA expression of 538 selected genes in IBC relative to non-IBC. RESULTS: Twenty-seven (5.0%) of the 538 genes were significantly up-regulated in IBC compared with non-IBC. None were down-regulated. The 27 up-regulated genes mainly encoded transcription factors (JUN, EGR1, JUNB, FOS, FOSB, MYCN, and SNAIL1), growth factors (VEGF, DTR/HB-EGF, IGFBP7, IL6, ANGPT2, EREG, CCL3/MIP1A, and CCL5/RANTES) and growth factor receptors (TBXA2R, TNFRSF10A/TRAILR1, and ROBO2). We also identified a gene expression profile, based on MYCN, EREG, and SHH, which discriminated subgroups of IBC patients with good, intermediate, and poor outcome. CONCLUSION: Our study has identified a limited number of signaling pathways that require inappropriate activation for IBC development. Some of the up-regulated genes identified here could offer useful diagnostic or prognostic markers and could form the basis of novel therapeutic strategies.

Gonzalez-Angulo, AM., et al. (2004). p53 expression as a prognostic marker in inflammatory breast cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 10(18 Pt 1), 6215-21. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

PURPOSE: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. Nuclear expression of p53 protein in breast cancer correlates with more aggressive tumors. We retrospectively analyze the expression of p53 as a prognostic marker to predict pathological complete response and survival in patients with IBC. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Fifty-nine patients with IBC were treated from January 1994 to April 2000. Forty-eight patients were included. Diagnostic core biopsies were taken before treatment was started. Expression of hormone receptors and p53 was determined by immunohistochemistry. All patients received an anthracycline-based regimen preoperatively; 22 patients (46%) also received paclitaxel. Forty-four patients (92%) achieved an objective clinical response and underwent mastectomies. RESULTS: Median age at diagnosis was 48 years. Thirty patients (63%) had hormone receptor-negative tumors. Twenty-eight patients (58%) had p53-positive tumors, and 20 patients (42%) had p53-negative tumors. Nine patients (19%) achieved a pathological complete response. At a median follow-up of 77 months, 28 recurrences (58%) and 26 deaths (54%) had occurred. Patients with p53-positive tumors were younger (P=0.02) and tended to have lower 5-year progression-free survival rates (35% versus 55%; P=0.3) and overall survival rates (44% versus 54%; P=0.4). CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective analysis demonstrates that nuclear p53 protein expression may represent an adverse prognostic marker in IBC and may provide a valuable tool for selecting treatment for this aggressive disease.

Parton, M., et al. (2004). High incidence of her-2 positivity in inflammatory breast cancer. Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland), 13(2), 97-103. Abstract below, free full text not available.

HER-2 is over-expressed in around 25% of human breast cancers, and is associated with poor outcome. We examined the incidence of HER-2 status in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Forty-nine newly diagnosed IBCs were studied. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded pre-treatment tissue biopsies were examined immunohistochemically for the over-expression of the HER-2 protein and gene using the HercepTest and FISH assay. Clinical outcome was compared between the HER-2 positive (HercepTest score 3 + and FISH positive) and negative groups. Fifty-two per cent of the IBCs examined were HER-2 positive. The HER-2 positive group were demographically comparable to the HER-2 negative group. Ninety-six per cent of the HER-2 positive patients responded to primary chemotherapy compared to 76% of the HER-2 negative (P = 0.09). No significant differences in outcome emerged between the two groups. In conclusion, this study found the incidence of HER-2 protein over-expression in IBC is higher than previously reported in non-IBC. Early HER-2 directed therapy (such as the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab) as a part of multimodal treatment may improve outcome in this poor prognosis cancer.

Liauw, SL., et al. (2004). Inflammatory breast carcinoma: outcomes with trimodality therapy for nonmetastatic disease. Cancer, 100(5), 920-8. Abstract below, free full text of article may be found at link above.

BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study were to summarize a single-institution experience in treating patients with inflammatory breast carcinoma (IBC) using trimodality therapy and to identify prognostic factors for outcome. METHODS: Sixty-one women underwent radiation therapy with curative intent for IBC between 1982 and 2001. All but five women received trimodality therapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was given to the majority of women (n = 43 patients), although some received “up-front” surgery as first therapy (n = 18 patients). RESULTS: With a median potential observation time after diagnosis of 14 years, freedom from locoregional disease progression was 78%, freedom from distant metastasis was 45%, and the cause-specific survival rate was 47% at 5 years. Approximately 40% of the 56 patients who received trimodality therapy remained free of disease. Multivariate analysis demonstrated three factors that were found to be associated significantly with improved cause-specific survival: pathologic tumor size < 4 cm (P = 0.0001), up-front surgery (P = 0.0078), and local disease control (P = 0.0003). Factors that were found to be associated with better freedom from locoregional disease progression were pathologic tumor size (< 4 cm; P = 0.0157), age (> 55 years; P = 0.0596), and radiation dose (> or = 60 grays [Gy]; P = 0.0621). CONCLUSIONS: IBC is an aggressive disease that is treated effectively in select patients by multimodality therapy. Patient outcomes may be improved with therapies that result in better local and systemic control. Further studies are warranted to address the optimal sequence of trimodality therapy and the optimal administration of each agent.

Gruber, G., et al. (2004). Prognosis of dermal lymphatic invasion with or without clinical signs of inflammatory breast cancer. International Journal of Cancer, 109(1), 144-8. Abstract below, free full text not available.

It is still an open debate whether tumor emboli in dermal lymphatics without inflammatory signs represent a similar bad prognosis like inflammatory breast cancer. We evaluated the prognostic role of dermal lymphatic invasion (DLI) in breast cancer with (DLI + ID) or without (DLI w/o ID) inflammatory disease (ID). From August 1988 to January 2000, 42 patients with DLI were irradiated. Twenty-five were classified as pT4, 13 out of them as pT4d (inflammatory disease); the 17 remaining patients had 1 T1c, 12 T2 and 4 T3 cancers with DLI. Axillary dissection revealed node-positive disease in 39/41 patients (median, 9 positive nodes). Thirty-eight out of 42 patients received adjuvant systemic treatment(s). After a mean follow-up of 33 months, 22/42 patients (52%) are disease-free. The actuarial 3-year disease-free survival is 50% (DLI w/o ID, 61%; DLI + ID, 31%; p < 0.03); the corresponding overall survival was 69% (DLI w/o ID, 87%; DLI + ID, 37%; p = 0.005). The presence or absence of ID was the only significant parameter for all endpoints in multivariate analyses. Dissemination occurred in 19 (45%), local relapse in 7 (n = 17%) and regional failure in 4 (10%). Nine patients (21%) had contralateral breast cancer/relapse. Despite the same histopathologic presentation, DLI w/o ID offered a significantly better disease-free survival and overall survival than ID. The finding of dermal lymphatic tumor invasion predicts a high probability for node-positive disease.

Charafe-Jauffret, E., et al. (2004). Immunophenotypic analysis of inflammatory breast cancers: identification of an ‘inflammatory signature’. The Journal of Pathology, 202(3), 265-73. Abstract below, free full text not available.

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but very aggressive form of breast cancer. Its definition is based on clinical criteria, but a molecular definition could be useful when data are incomplete or features are missing. Recently, the identification of overexpression of E-cadherin in IBC has improved understanding of the molecular basis of this disease. Consequently, the aim of this study was to try to determine an immunophenotypic ‘signature’ of IBC. A series of 80 cases of IBC were compared with 552 non-IBC control cases and a model was elaborated to evaluate the probability of an inflammatory carcinoma being present in any clinical situation. Tissue microarrays (TMAs) were used to determine the immunohistochemical profile of eight proteins including E-cadherin, EGFR, oestrogen and progesterone receptor (ER and PR), MIB1, ERBB2, MUC1, and P53. All the parameters tested were differentially expressed between IBC and control cases in univariate analysis (p < 0.001). The five variables that were significantly associated with IBC in multivariate analysis were E-cadherin > or = 300 [HR = 5.64 (2.92-10.87)], ER negative [HR = 3.00 (1.67-5.51)], MIB1 > 20 [HR = 3.54 (1.87-6.71)], MUC1 cytoplasmic staining [HR = 2.72 (1.49-4.96)], and ERBB2 positive 2+ or 3+ [HR = 2.46 (1.26-4.78)]. The probability that a breast cancer with this full phenotype at diagnosis was an IBC was 90.5%. If any one of the five parameters was missing, this probability dropped to 75% and was less than 50% when one, two, or three parameters were present. The 5-year overall survival (OS) and 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) of patients with IBC were not significantly different from those of the non-IBC control group that expressed four or five parameters (nIBC-1), but this nIBC-1 control group had a significantly worse outcome than the non-IBC control group (nIBC-2) with only 0-3 parameters (p = 0.0049 for OS and p < 0.0001 for DFS). In conclusion, an immunophenotypic signature was suggested for IBC. This could help to determine the worst cases, independent of clinical criteria.