Inflammatory breast cancer: What we know and what we need to learn

Hideko Yamauchi, Wendy A. Woodward, Vicente Valero, Ricardo H. Alvarez, Anthony Lucci, Thomas A. Buchholz, Takayuki Iwamoto, Savitri Krishnamurthy, Wei Yang, James M. Reuben, Gabriel N. Hortobágyi, Naoto T. Ueno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. We review the current status of multidisciplinary care for patients with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and discuss what further research is needed to advance the care of patients with this disease. Design. We performed a comprehensive review of the English-language literature on IBC through computerized literature searches. Results. Significant advances in imaging, including digital mammography, high-resolution ultrasonography with Doppler capabilities, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission omography-computed tomography, have improved the diagnosis and staging of IBC. There are currently no established molecular criteria for distinguishing IBC from noninflammatory breast cancer. Such criteria would be helpful for the diagnosis and development of novel targeted therapies. Combinations of neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy have led to an improved prognosis; however, the overall 5-year survival rate for patients with IBC remains very low (~30%). Sentinel lymph node biopsy and skin-sparing mastectomy are not recommended for patients with IBC. Conclusion. Optimal management of IBC requires close coordination among medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists, as well as radiologists and pathologists. There is a need to identify molecular changes that define the pathogenesis of IBC to enable eradication of IBC with the use of IBC-specific targeted therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-899
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Systemic therapy
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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