Paclitaxel and docetaxel in the treatment of breast cancer

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2008 Oct;9(15):2603-16. doi: 10.1517/14656566.9.15.2603.


Background: Paclitaxel and docetaxel are considered fundamental drugs in the treatment of breast cancer.

Objectives: To review the current role of taxanes in the treatment breast cancer, with emphasis on data from randomized trials comparing the two taxanes.

Methods: We have reviewed the available evidence in the literature to gauge the results of therapy of early and advanced breast cancer with taxanes.

Results: Clinically benefits were first shown in metastatic setting. More recently, benefits have also been seen in the therapy of early-stage disease. It seems reasonable to consider either drug as standard treatment for node-positive early stage or metastatic breast cancer. Future studies should explore the optimal way of combining taxanes with novel biological and cytotoxic drugs.

Conclusion: Based on existing evidence, clinicians should choose a taxane-based regimen for their patients, according to clinical activity, toxicity profile, pharmacokinetics, and a dosing schedule that best meets the therapeutic needs and convenience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Taxoids / adverse effects
  • Taxoids / pharmacology
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel