The development and clinical utility of the taxane class of antimicrotubule chemotherapy agents

Annu Rev Med. 1997;48:353-74. doi: 10.1146/


The taxane class of antimicrotubule anticancer agents is perhaps the most important addition to the chemotherapeutic armamentarium against cancer over the past several decades. After only a brief period, the taxanes have not only demonstrated a unique ability to palliate the symptoms of many types of advanced cancers, including carcinoma of the ovary, lung, head and neck, bladder, and esophagus, they have also demonstrated effectiveness in the initial therapy of earlier stages of cancer, a setting in which any new therapy is likely to make its greatest impact. The challenge now facing investigators is to develop strategies to maximize therapeutic benefits with the taxanes in the early stages, as well as the advanced stages, of many cancers. This review describes the preclinical features and clinical results of the two major taxanes, paclitaxel (Taxol, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and docetaxel (Taxotere, Rhone-Poulenc Rhorer).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Docetaxel
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / drug effects*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel / analogs & derivatives*
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use*
  • Taxoids*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel