Inflammatory breast cancer

Enhanced local control with hyperfractionated radiotheraphy and infusional vincristine, ifosfamide and epirubicin

H. Gurney*, P. Harnett, R. Kefford, J. Boyages

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Local control rate for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is <50% with standard chemotherapy-radiotherapy regimen. Nineteen women (age range 40-65, median 50 years) with Ibc (18 patients) or with a primary tumour of >10 cm (one patient) received a novel treatment comprising hyperfractionated radiotherapy (hfrt) sandwiched between two cycles of infusional chemotherapy using vincristine, ifosfamide and epirubicin (vie). The primary endpoint was local control. Vie was continuously infused for six weeks via a Hickman's line using a Deltec Gadd-1 ambulatory pump. Ifosfamide (3 gm/m2) mixed with equi-dose mesna was infused for seven days and alternated every week with an infusion of epirubicin (50 mg/m2) mixed with vincristine (1.5 mg/m2). Hfrt consisted of 1.5 Gy twice daily for 34 frct (51 Gy) followed by a boost of 15 Gy in 10 frct. The total treatment time was less than 22 weeks. Median follow-up was 37 months. Local control rate was 58%. Three patients failed to respond initially and five relapsed in the breast at a median time of 36.8 months. Median overall and disease-free survival was 18 and 25.3 months respectively. Toxicity from VIE was minimal (WHO gd 3 emesis - two patients, gd 3 mucositis - one patient, neutropenic sepsis - three patients). Radiotherapy caused moist desquamation in 17/19 patients. Twenty-four central lines were complicated by seven line infections, three thromboses, and one extravasation. The local control rate of 58% with VIE +HFRT appears similar to reported chemoradiotherapy regimen, although the treatment time of 22 weeks is much shorter than other regimens which take up to 12 months. Toxicity is acceptable. Hickman-related complications need to be reduced. The study is ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-402
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Ifosfamide
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Radiotherapy

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