Taxol (paclitaxel): a novel anti-microtubule agent with remarkable anti-neoplastic activity

Int J Clin Lab Res. 1994;24(1):6-14. doi: 10.1007/BF02592403.


Taxol (paclitaxel), an anti-microtubule agent extracted from the needles and bark of the Pacific yew tree Taxus brevifolia, has shown a remarkable anti-neoplastic effect in human cancer in phase I studies and early phase II and III trials thus far conducted. This has been reported primarily in advanced ovarian and breast cancer, although significant activity has also been documented in small-cell and non-small-cell lung cancer, head and neck cancers, and with lower activity in metastatic melanoma. The clinical utilization of Taxol had been previously somewhat restricted by its limited availability, a limitation that has recently been overcome by combined efforts of pharmaceutical, agricultural, and governmental agencies. In this review we shall address the pre-clinical data which have led to the use of Taxol in man, the main clinical results thus far obtained, the toxicities associated with its use, current ongoing trials and future clinical directions of this promising agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / chemically induced
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / drug effects*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel / analogs & derivatives
  • Paclitaxel / chemical synthesis
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology*
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Polyethylene Glycols / adverse effects
  • Taxoids*
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Taxoids
  • Tubulin
  • Docetaxel
  • cremophor
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Paclitaxel