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Pharmacotherapy. 1997 Sep-Oct;17(5 Pt 2):110S-125S.

Clinical overview of the taxanes.

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National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1196, USA.


Paclitaxel and docetaxel are taxane antineoplastic agents with broad antitumor activity. Since being introduced, they have become increasingly important in the treatment of a number of major solid tumors. Paclitaxel plus a platinum analog is now considered first-line therapy for advanced ovarian cancer, and both paclitaxel and docetaxel have significant activity as single agents in recurrent ovarian cancer. Docetaxel may be useful in some of these women with ovarian cancer who fail or progress after paclitaxel-containing treatments. Both drugs have significant response rates in the treatment of breast cancer and are options for patients with advanced disease, including anthracycline-refractory disease. Administration of taxanes in new combination regimens and as adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is under investigation; for example, the combination of paclitaxel and doxorubicin is highly active, and comparative studies of taxanes and anthracyclines should help clarify optimal treatment regimens in breast cancer. Both drugs have significant activity alone in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and head and neck cancers. For the former, paclitaxel-cisplatin is now standard treatment in cooperative group combination therapy trials. As a result of its radiosensitizing properties, paclitaxel is undergoing extensive evaluation as combined modality treatment for advanced NSCLC and head and neck cancer. Both taxanes will probably be useful in combination regimens in head and neck cancer. Research is continuing to define further their roles and relative usefulness in other malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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