Combination paclitaxel (Taxol) and doxorubicin therapy for metastatic breast cancer

J. A. O'Shaughnessy, J. S. Fisherman, K. H. Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Paclitaxel (Taxol; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ) is a very active agent for the treatment of breast cancer, with associated complete response rates of 12% in patients with minimally pretreated metastatic disease. Simultaneous paclitaxel and doxorubicin administration by 72-hour continuous infusion in patients with previously untreated metastatic breast cancer has yielded an overall response rate of 72% with 8% complete responses. No alterations in paclitaxel or doxorubicin pharmacokinetics were observed when the drugs were administered alone versus in combination. Two phase I studies from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX) and the University of Indiana (Indianapolis, IN) have shown that administration of a 24-hour paclitaxel infusion prior to doxorubicin results in a significantly higher incidence of mucositis than the reverse sequence. Preliminary pharmacokinetic studies from M.D. Anderson suggest that peak plasma concentration and clearance of doxorubicin are altered by pretreatment with 24-hour paclitaxel. In contrast, in an ongoing phase I study at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan, Italy, no differences in toxicities have been observed with the combination of intravenous bolus doxorubicin and 3-hour infusional paclitaxel administered by either sequence. Preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that the combination of paclitaxel and doxorubicin is associated with no or minimal additive antitumor effects. The modest complete response rates that have been observed in patients with metastatic breast cancer to date are in agreement with these observations. A randomized study of paclitaxel versus doxorubicin versus intravenous bolus doxorubicin followed by 24-hour paclitaxel is now being conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number5 SUPPL. 8
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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