Paclitaxel as weekly second-line therapy in patients with advanced pancreatic carcinoma

Anticancer Drugs. 2000 Sep;11(8):635-8. doi: 10.1097/00001813-200009000-00006.


Although the prognosis for patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma is still poor, gemcitabine has shown significant impact upon survival and quality of life. Our aim was to examine the potential effectiveness of a second- or third-line therapy with paclitaxel (Taxol) after confirmed progression with a gemcitabine-containing schedule for patients remaining in good clinical condition. Eighteen patients with stage IVb disease participated in this study. Pretreatment with gemcitabine was performed either as monotherapy and/or in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and folic acid (FA). Paclitaxel was administered at weekly intervals on an outpatient basis. We observed 238 weekly treatments with a median number per patient of 12 treatments. The median dosage was 73 mg/m2 paclitaxel (range 55-88 mg/m2). Regarding toxicity, only one patient each presented with anemia and leukocytopenia of WHO grade III. Hepatotoxicity with a temporary increase in aminotransferase of WHO grade II occurred in three patients. Higher-grade symptomatic toxicity was rare, except alopecia. At this time, the median survival time is 17.5 weeks (range 7-88 weeks) since the start of therapy. Stable disease was observed in five patients. One patient achieved complete remission within 37 weeks. At this time, he has survived for more than 56 weeks after confirmed progression under first-line therapy. In conclusion, this schedule demonstrates that weekly therapy with paclitaxel after pretreatment can be effective with a low toxicity profile. This opens up an additional therapeutic option for a selected patient group with a poor prognosis so far.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Salvage Therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Paclitaxel