Paclitaxel: as adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy in early breast cancer

Drugs. 2004;64(16):1839-47. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200464160-00008.


Paclitaxel is a antimicrotubule agent with established antitumour activity in a variety of cancers including breast cancer. The efficacy of intravenous paclitaxel as adjuvant therapy for early breast cancer has been investigated in two large, randomised trials; it was administered sequentially to standard doxorubicin-cyclophosphamide (AC) combination therapy and compared with cycles of AC alone. In both trials, the addition of sequentially administered paclitaxel to the AC regimen significantly improved disease-free survival at 5 years compared with AC alone. In one of the trials, women who received paclitaxel also had a significant improvement in overall 5-year survival time. In randomised trials of neoadjuvant therapy for women with early breast cancer, paclitaxel or paclitaxel-containing regimens showed efficacy in terms of response/remission rates, local breast tumour recurrence and proportion of patients eligible for breast-conserving surgery. The most frequently reported grade 3-4 adverse events with paclitaxel administered sequentially to AC were haematological events (neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anaemia) and nausea/vomiting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacokinetics
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Paclitaxel