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Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2003 Jan;2(1):59-71.

Cardiotoxic effects of anthracycline-taxane combinations.

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Division of Medical Oncology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumouri, 20133 Milan, Italy.


The association of doxorubicin (DOX) and paclitaxel (PTX) is very active in breast cancer. Unfortunately, PTX may potentiate the cardiotoxic effects of anthracyclines: it causes nonlinear disposition of DOX and its metabolites, leading to persistant of elevated plasma concentrations of the anthracyclines. However, this pharmacokinetic interference is not sufficient to explain the enhanced cardiotoxicity of the combination. Recent data suggest that PTX stimulates the conversion of DOX to cardiotoxic metabolites (namely doxorubicinol) inside cardiomyocytes. Docetaxel (DTX) does not have a major influence on DOX plasma concentration because it does not interfere with its elimination. Clinical data suggest that DTX may not enhance anthracycline cardiotoxicity, but patients seldom received a total anthracycline dose compatible with increased risk. Furthermore, there are experimental data indicating that DTX can also stimulate the metabolism of DOX to toxic species in human heart.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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