Can the status of the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene 1 product (BRCA1) predict response to taxane-based cancer therapy?

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2009 Jun;9(5):543-9. doi: 10.2174/187152009788451798.


Taxanes (paclitaxel and docetaxel) are currently used to treat ovarian, breast, lung, and head and neck cancers. Despite its clinical success taxane-based treatment could be significantly improved by identifying those patients whose tumors are more likely to present a clinical response. In this mini-review we discuss the accumulating evidence indicating that the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene product BRCA1 mediates cellular response to taxanes. We review data from in vitro, animal, and clinical studies, and discuss them in context of response to therapy. We argue that levels of BRCA1 in tumors may provide a predictive marker for the response to treatment with taxanes. In addition, the study of the role of BRCA1 in the mechanism of action of taxanes might reveal alternative approaches to avoid resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • BRCA1 Protein / analysis*
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA1 Protein / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Taxoids / chemistry
  • Taxoids / isolation & purification
  • Taxoids / pharmacology
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Taxoids