Adjuvant taxanes: more to the story

Clin Breast Cancer. 2010 Sep;10 Suppl 2:S41-9. doi: 10.3816/CBC.2010.s.011.


Breast cancer is a common public health problem, and the most important prognostic factors in survival or recurrence after potentially curative surgery include the number of involved axillary lymph nodes and the biology of the disease. Systemic chemotherapy remains a critical component in the eradication of occult micrometastatic disease in the adjuvant setting. The 2000 Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group overview of polychemotherapy in breast cancer has demonstrated that anthracycline-based regimens are superior to non-anthracycline-based therapies in terms of disease-free survival and overall survival. The taxanes paclitaxel and docetaxel were well established in metastatic breast cancer and lack cross-resistance with anthracyclines and were therefore quickly deemed worthwhile for evaluation in the adjuvant setting. A large meta-analysis showed that the addition of a taxane to an anthracycline-based regimen improves outcomes in high-risk patients regardless of age, menopausal status, number of nodes involved, hormone receptor status, and type of taxane. There are several effective anthracycline/taxane combinations traditionally studied in patients with high-risk disease. In this overview, we will review some of the key trials that have advanced the standard of care in the adjuvant setting with regard to various chemotherapy combinations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Taxoids