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Successful combination therapy with trastuzumab and paclitaxel for adriamycin- and docetaxel-resistant inflammatory breast cancer


We present a case of adriamycin-and docetaxel-resistant inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) in which partial response was achieved with combination therapy using trastuzumab and paclitaxel. A 48-year old woman noticed a lump in her right breast. She was diagnosed with IBC and the disease was staged as T4d N1 M0, stage IIIB. The patient was started on neoadjuvant chemotherapy with adriamycin (50 mg/m2) and docetaxel (60 mg/m2) administered every three weeks. Six courses were performed and the response was evaluated as no change. After one month, contralateral breast swelling indicated bilateral IBC. Bilateral mastectomy using the Halsted method was performed. The immunohistochemical results of the Hercep Test™ was strongly positive (3+). After the mastectomy, right pleural effusion appeared, and cytological examination revealed the cells to be class V (adenocarcinoma).

To treat the clinically advanced breast cancer, combination therapy with trastuzumab (initially 4 mg/kg followed by two or more cycles of 2 mg/kg) and paclitaxel (80 mg/m2) were given intravenously every week for eight cycles and then every two weeks thereafter. A total of 32 courses of therapy were performed, the pleural effusion completely disappeared and partial response was maintained for a duration of 482 days. The adverse reactions were mild, and it was possible for her to be treated as an outpatient with high quality of life. This report suggests that weekly combination therapy of trastuzumab and paclitaxel was useful for treatment of adriamycin-and docetaxel-resistant metastatic breast cancer.

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Correspondence to Yutaka Okawa or Katsuki Sugiyama or Keisuke Aiba or Akio Hirano or Shinji Uno or Takeshi Hagino or Kazumi Kawase or Hisashi Shioya or Kazuhiko Yoshida or Masao Kobayashi or Noriko Usui or Tadashi Kobayashi.

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Okawa, Y., Sugiyama, K., Aiba, K. et al. Successful combination therapy with trastuzumab and paclitaxel for adriamycin- and docetaxel-resistant inflammatory breast cancer. Breast Cancer 11, 309 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02984555

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Key words

  • Trastuzumab
  • Paclitaxel
  • Inflammatory breast cancer