Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Individuals With Inflammatory Breast Cancer at High Risk for Cancer Spreading to Brain

Patients with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)—a rare subtype of breast cancer—have a high risk of cancer metastasizing in the central nervous system, or brain (mCNS), according to a new study.

The researchers aimed to quantify the incidence of mCNS in patients with breast cancer as well as identify what risk factors exist.

Data from patients diagnosed with IBC between 1997 and 2019 were reviewed, and mCNS-free survival time was defined as the date IBC was diagnosed to the date mCNS was diagnosed or the date of death (depending on what occurred first).

In total, 531 patients were identified with either stage III (n = 372), or de novo stage IV (n = 159) disease. A total of 124 patients were diagnosed with mCNS. For patients who presented with stage III disease, the 1-, 2-, and 5-year incidence of mCNS was 5%, 9%, and 18%, respectively, during a follow-up of 5.6 years. For patients with stage IV disease, the researchers found incidence rates of mCNS to be 17%, 30%, and 42%, respectively.

Further, upon analysis, the researchers identified that patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at stage III had a significant risk for developing mCNS. Additionally, patients with cancer that metastasized to other parts of their body were at a high risk of mCNS, especially in younger patients.

“Patients with IBC, particularly those with triple-negative IBC, visceral metastasis, and those at a younger age at diagnosis of metastatic disease, are at significant risk of developing mCNS,” the researchers concluded. “Further investigation into prevention of mCNS and whether early detection of mCNS is associated with improved IBC patient outcomes is warranted.”


—Jessica Ganga


Warren LEG, Niman SM, Remolano MS, et al. Incidence, characteristics, and management of central nervous system metastases in patients with inflammatory breast cancer. CANCER. Published online October 10, 2022. doi:10.1002/cncr.34441