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Semin Oncol. 2008 Apr;35(2 Suppl 2):S15-21; quiz S39. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2008.02.002.

Preclinical investigations with epothilones in breast cancer models.

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Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


The epothilones constitute a novel class of microtubule inhibitors that act like the taxanes by hyperstabilizing tubulin polymerization, thus disrupting functioning of the mitotic spindle. Natural epothilones produced by myxobacteria, and second- or third-generation partially or fully synthesized analogs, have been explored as cancer chemotherapy agents to replace or follow the taxanes. For those epothilones that have gone on to clinical development (epothilone B, ixabepilone, BMS-310705, ZK-EPO, KOS-862, and KOS-1584), preclinical investigations in breast cancer models are reviewed. All of these epothilones improve upon the cytotoxic activity of paclitaxel in various human breast cancer cell lines in vitro, but are also highly active in lines that are resistant to paclitaxel. Comparable antitumor activity has been demonstrated against nude mouse xenografts of paclitaxel-sensitive and -resistant breast cancer lines. Additionally, some analogs have reduced toxicity or increased water solubility that may permit oral administration, while others with enhanced tissue penetration show promise in animal models of breast cancer brain or bone metastasis and may provide benefits in patients with poor-prognosis advanced breast cancer.

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