Prognostic factors in locally advanced noninflammatory breast cancer. Long-term results following primary chemotherapy

Pinuccia Valagussa, Milvia Zambetti, Gianni Bonadonna, Roberto Zucali, Guerrino Mezzanotte, Umberto Veronesi

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Since 1973 we have treated T3b-T4 (stage III) breast cancer with various forms of multidisciplinary approaches through prospective trials. The present report analyses the 10-year results of 277 patients. Primary chemotherapy consisted of adriamycin plus vincristine given for three or four cycles prior to high-energy irradiation or surgery. In 205 of 277 (74%) additional chemotherapy was planned following the local-regional modality. Primary chemotherapy yielded complete plus partial remission in 62% (CR 7%). Long-term freedom from progression and overall survival were significantly improved by the addition of chemotherapy following local-regional treatment (radiotherapy or surgery). Further chemotherapy was able to significantly affect treatment outcome when it was analyzed both singly and in the presence of other prognostic variables. Thus, in our experience, the variables significantly affecting the 10-year results were represented by duration of treatment and tumor cell burden expressed by size of primary malignancy and clinical nodal status. Locally advanced breast cancer appears a pleomorphic disease difficult to control over a long period of time because of its frequent presentation with bulky tumor and the very high risk of disseminated micrometastases. Thus, the management of this stage of disease almost invariably requires a multidisciplinary approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1990


  • locally advanced breast cancer
  • primary chemotherapy
  • prognostic factors
  • stage III

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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