Background. The treatment of patients with locally advanced noninflammatory breast cancer has evolved substantially over the past 30 years. From 1968 to 1989, 281 women were treated at Mallinckrodt Radiation Oncology Center with four different treatment methods. Median follow‐up was 6.2 years (range 3–22 years); no patient was lost to follow‐up. Methods. Retrospective review of records and analysis of data on a computer file were carried out. Thirty‐five patients were treated with irradiation alone, 33 with irradiation and adjuvant chemotherapy, 81 with mastectomy and irradiation, and 132 with mastectomy, irradiation, and chemotherapy (triple‐modality). Results. Actuarial 5‐ and 10‐year disease free survival (DFS) rates were 45% and 36%, respectively, with triple‐modality therapy, 31% and 10% with irradiation and chemotherapy, 32% and 19% with irradiation and mastectomy, and 19% and 11% with irradiation alone. Cause specific survival (CSS) paralleled DFS in the four groups. Locoregional tumor control at 5 years was 91% for irradiation, mastectomy, and chemotherapy, 80% for irradiation and mastectomy, 54% for irradiation and chemotherapy, and 31% for irradiation alone. Systemic therapy and/or irradiation given before mastectomy yielded better locoregional tumor control, DFS, and CSS (not statistically significant). No difference in results was noted with radical, modified radical, or total mastectomy. In the triple‐modality group; no chest wall failures occurred with chest wall doses greater than 5040 cGy. Grade 2 or higher treatment sequelae were noted in 10–42% of patients, depending on treatment modality. Conclusions. Triple‐modality therapy yielded improved locoregional tumor control, DFS, and CSS compared with other modalities. Patients treated with surgery had better locoregional tumor control than those who received irradiation alone or in combination with chemotherapy, but the impact on DFS and CSS was less impressive. Additional clinical trials are needed to define further the role and optimal use of the various therapeutic modalities in the management of locally advanced breast cancer.
- combined‐modality therapy
- locally advanced breast cancer
- neoadjuvant chemotherapy
- noninflammatory breast cancer
- prognostic factors
- radiation therapy