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Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2007 Jul;7(7):919-43.

Nab-paclitaxel for breast cancer: a new formulation with an improved safety profile and greater efficacy.

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Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Taxanes, paclitaxel and docetaxel, are among the most effective agents used to treat breast cancer. Nab-paclitaxel (ABI-007, Abraxane) is paclitaxel encapsulated in albumin. This differs from the more conventional formulation which uses cremophor to increase the solubility of paclitaxel (CrEL-paclitaxel). In a randomized trial that formed the basis of its regulatory approval in the USA, 3-weekly nab-paclitaxel induced a higher response rate and longer time to progression than CrEL-paclitaxel in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Except for grade 3 sensory neuropathy, nab-paclitaxel was also safer. An interim analysis from a more recent randomized Phase II trial suggests that weekly nab-paclitaxel is more effective and safer than either 3-weekly nab-paclitaxel or 3-weekly docetaxel. The superior efficacy of nab-paclitaxel is presumably due to the improved safety profile, which allows for the administration of higher doses, a greater proportion of which actually reaches the tumor. Observations on the development of nab-paclitaxel have important implications for our understanding of dose response in the use of cytotoxic drugs to treat all forms of cancer. Although it is not yet clear whether nab-paclitaxel can be routinely substituted for CrEL-paclitaxel or docetaxel in breast cancer treatment regimens, it seems highly likely that this will occur within the next 5 years.

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