Clinical studies with epothilones for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer

Semin Oncol. 2008 Apr;35(2 Suppl 2):S22-30; quiz S40. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2008.02.003.


Standard cytotoxic chemotherapy of locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer includes the microtubule-stabilizing taxanes, but like other cytotoxic drugs their effectiveness is compromised by resistance that is either inherent or develops during treatment. Epothilones, which also stabilize microtubules but by a different mechanism, are in clinical development primarily to overcome taxane or multidrug resistance, based on potent preclinical antitumor activity against resistant tumor lines. Ixabepilone is the best-studied epothilone clinically and is active in patients with metastatic breast cancer that has been pretreated with, or had established resistance to, taxanes and/or anthracyclines. In a phase III trial in patients with anthracycline-pretreated or -resistant and taxane-resistant locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, adding ixabepilone to capecitabine significantly improved progression-free survival and the overall response rate compared with capecitabine alone. The primary toxicities associated with ixabepilone treatment are neuropathy and neutropenia, but both are generally manageable. Other epothilones currently in clinical studies are KOS-862, patupilone, ZK-EPO, BMS-310705, and KOS-1584, which have all shown activity in patients with pretreated or resistant metastatic breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Capecitabine
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Epothilones / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / analogs & derivatives
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy*
  • Tubulin Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • BMS 310705
  • Epothilones
  • Tubulin Modulators
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • ixabepilone
  • desoxyepothilone B
  • Fluorouracil
  • epothilone B