Inflammatory breast cancer is typically considered a locally-advanced breast cancer and is treated aggressively with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or HER2 targeted therapy as appropriate.
Analysis of data for 10,197 women treated for nonmetastatic inflammatory breast cancer treated over a 12-year-period found that the use of trimodality treatment (chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy) fluctuated annually between 58.4% and 73%. “Underutilization of trimodality therapy negatively impacted survival for patients with [inflammatory breast cancer.
Targeted therapy: Inflammatory breast cancers often produce greater than normal amounts of the HER2 protein, which means that drugs such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) that target this protein may be used to treat them. Anti-HER2 therapy can be given both as part of neoadjuvant therapy and after surgery (adjuvant therapy).
Hormone therapy: If the cells of a woman’s inflammatory breast cancer contain hormone receptors, hormone therapy is another treatment option. Drugs such as tamoxifen, which prevent estrogen from binding to its receptor, and aromatase inhibitors such as letrozole, which block the body’s ability to make estrogen, can cause estrogen-dependent cancer cells to stop growing and die.