Treatment options for metastatic breast cancer

Kevin Fox, MD
Last Modified: January 13, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in '99. She had a lumpectomy followed by 4 cycles of chemo (Taxol) and radiation therapy. The doctor told her the cancer was gone and she regularly did checkups. About 2 months ago my mother noticed her breast becoming red, swollen, and a rash developing. She had a biopsy done and she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She did a CAT scan and the cancer is in her right breast and right lung. My question to you is what is the best and most effective treatment for this? She is now on 2 types of chemo: Taxol and 1 other that I cannot recall. I am anxiously waiting for your response.  


Kevin Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Although I have not reviewed the pathology and it is beyond the scope of this service to give medical advice, assuming the limited clinical information given here is correct you seem to be describing a situation of metastatic cancer to breast and lung. This should be treated as metastatic breast cancer, and possibly not "inflammatory" cancer per se. Generally in our practice she would receive some chemotherapy regimen. A "best" regimen has not been described, but some combination of taxotere/adriamycin or taxol/adriamycin might be considered. Tumor tissue should be checked for "HER-2" over expression if it hasn't already been done.