Class/mechanism: Taxane, promotes assembly of microtubules, stablizes microtubules, preventing depolymerization. Paclitaxel interferes with the normal dynamic reorganization of microtubules that is necessary for regular interphase/mitosis processes. It also leads to creation of abnormal bundles of microtubules. Paclitaxel is highly lipophilic/insoluble in water and needs to be dissolved in Cremophor EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil), which may cause hypersensitivity infusion reactions.
Extravasation: irritant (usually), vesicant (rare)
For conciseness and simplicity, HemOnc.org currently will focus on treatment regimens and not list information such as: renal/hepatic dose adjustments, metabolism (including CYP450), excretion, monitoring parameters (although this will be considered for checklists), or manufacturer. Instead, for the most current information, please refer to your preferred pharmacopeias such as Micromedex, Lexicomp, UpToDate (courtesy of Lexicomp), or the prescribing information.
Diseases for which it is used
- Adenocarcinoma of unknown primary
- Cutaneous basal cell carcinoma
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
- Esophageal cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Kaposi sarcoma
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Penile cancer
- Prostate cancer
- SCC of unknown primary
- Small cell lung cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Vascular sarcoma
- Vulvar cancer
Patient drug information
- Paclitaxel (Taxol) package insert
- Paclitaxel (Taxol) patient drug information (Chemocare)
- Paclitaxel (Taxol) patient drug information (UpToDate)
History of changes in FDA indication
- 12/29/1992: Initial FDA approval for treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma of the ovary after failure of first-line or subsequent chemotherapy
- 4/9/1998 (earliest label available on Drugs @ FDA): Indicated for:
- First-line and subsequent therapy for the treatment of advanced carcinoma of the ovary. As first-line therapy, Taxol is indicated in combination with cisplatin.
- The treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination therapy for metastatic disease or relapsed within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated.
- The second-line treatment of AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.
- 6/30/1998: New indication added: in combination with cisplatin, is indicated for the first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in patients who are not candidates for potentially curative surgery and/or radiation therapy.
- 10/25/1999: New indication for the adjuvant treatment of node-positive breast cancer administered sequentially to standard doxorubicin-containing combination chemotherapy.
Also known as
- Brand names: