Pathological and molecular characteristics of inflammatory breast cancer

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Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer characterized by the presence of many dermal tumor emboli in the papillary and reticular dermis of the skin overlying the breast. IBC patients, compared to other breast cancer patients, have more frequently metastatic axillary lymph nodes. IBC is often high grade, negative for hormone receptors and presents with amplification of the HER2 gene. Invasive IBC is frequently of ductal phenotype, even if a specific histological distinction for these lesions has not been described. The pathogenesis and evolution of IBC are strongly dependent upon tumor microenvironment, characterized by several macrophages/monocytes and lymphocytes. The tumor and microenvironment cells are well molecularly characterized, showing the main contributor of inflammatory pathways in tumor biology of IBC. In addition, several molecular alterations are described in this tumor, such as mutations of ERBB2, KRAS, BRAF, EGFR, PIK3CA, PTEN, AKTI, and AKT3 genes that could suggest a therapeutic stratification of IBC patients with the combination of different biological target therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S449-S456
JournalTranslational Cancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)
  • tumor biology
  • inflammatory pathways


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