BACKGROUND: The authors compared treatment adherence rates and outcome in Caucasian and African American patients with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). METHODS: The records of 55 (25 Caucasian and 30 African American) IBC patients treated with curative intent from 1995 to 2009 were reviewed. All patients received neoadjuvant doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and/or taxane-based chemotherapy, and mastectomy with or without radiotherapy. The median follow-up period for Caucasian and African American patients was similar (39.5 months and 36.1 months, respectively). RESULTS: There was no difference between races in median age, tumor size, grade, and receptor status at diagnosis. The number of patients who completed neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy did not differ by race (84% of Caucasians vs 86.7% of African Americans) nor did the median length of time to complete tri-modality treatment (263 [range, 207-422] days for Caucasians vs 262 [range, 165-371] days for African Americans). There was a trend toward slightly higher pathological complete response rates in Caucasian than African American women (20% in Caucasians vs 6.7% in African Americans, P=.23). Despite slightly better response rates to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, Caucasian patients did not have higher 3-year local control rates (70% in Caucasians vs 64% in African Americans, P=.73). However, there was a trend toward higher 3-year overall survival in Caucasian versus African American patients (73% in Caucasians vs 55% in African Americans, P=.09) and higher distant metastasis-free survival (60% in Caucasians vs 40% in African Americans, P=.19). CONCLUSIONS: This study is among the largest to examine patients with IBC by race. Being Caucasian or African American did not appear to impact treatment adherence. However, African American patients tended to have poorer response to standard treatment and worse outcome than Caucasian patients. Cancer 2011; 117: 5485-92. (C) 2011 American Cancer Society.