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an antineoplastic agent that acts by promoting and stabilizing the polymerization of microtubules, isolated from the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia); used in the treatment of advanced ovarian or breast carcinoma, non–small cell lung carcinoma, and AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. Administered intravenously.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Apo-Paclitaxel (CA), Paxene (UK)

Pharmacologic class: Antimicrotubule agent

Therapeutic class: Antineoplastic

Pregnancy risk category D

FDA Box Warning

• Give injection under supervision of physician experienced in use of cancer chemotherapy, in facility with adequate diagnostic and treatment resources.

• Anaphylaxis and severe hypersensitivity reactions may occur despite premedication. All patients should be pretreated with corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and histamine2 antagonists. Don't give drug to patients who've had previous severe reactions.

• Don't administer drug to patients with solid tumors whose baseline neutrophil counts are below 1,500 cells/mm3 or to patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma whose baseline neutrophil counts are below 1,000 cells/mm3. To monitor for bone marrow suppression, obtain frequent peripheral blood cell counts on all patients.

• Albumin form of drug may substantially affect drug's functional properties. Don't substitute for or use with other paclitaxel forms.


Stabilizes cellular microtubules to prevent depolymerization. This action inhibits microtubule network (essential for vital interphase and mitotic cellular functions) and induces abnormal microtubule arrays or bundles throughout cell cycle and during mitosis.


Concentrate for injection: 30 mg/5-ml vial, 100 mg/16.7-ml vial, 300 mg/50-ml vial

Indications and dosages

Advanced ovarian cancer

Adults: As first-line therapy, 175 mg/m2 I.V. over 3 hours q 3 weeks, or 135 mg/m2 I.V. over 24 hours q 3 weeks, followed by cisplatin. After failure of first-line therapy, 135 mg/m2 I.V. or 175 mg/m2 I.V. over 3 hours q 3 weeks.

Breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy

Adults: As adjuvant treatment for node-positive breast cancer, 175 mg/m2 I.V. over 3 hours q 3 weeks for four courses given sequentially with doxorubicin combination chemotherapy. After chemotherapy failure for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant therapy, 175 mg/m2 I.V. over 3 hours q 3 weeks.

Non-small-cell lung cancer

Adults: 135 mg/m2 I.V. over 24 hours q 3 weeks, followed by cisplatin

AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma

Adults: 135 mg/m2 I.V. over 3 hours q 3 weeks, or 100 mg/m2 I.V. over 3 hours q 2 weeks

Dosage adjustment

• Advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection (when used for Kaposi's sarcoma)

Off-label uses

• Advanced head and neck cancer

• Small-cell lung cancer

• Upper GI tract adenocarcinoma

• Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

• Pancreatic cancer

• Polycystic kidney disease


• Hypersensitivity to drug or castor oil

• Solid tumors when baseline neutrophil count is below 1,500 cells/mm3

• AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma when baseline neutrophil count is below 1,000 cells/mm3


Use cautiously in:

• severe hepatic impairment, active infection, decreased bone marrow reserve, chronic debilitating illness

• patients with childbearing potential

• breastfeeding patients (not recommended)

• children (safety not established).


Follow facility protocol for handling chemotherapeutic drugs and preparing solutions.

• Dilute in dextrose 5% in water, normal saline solution, or dextrose 5% in lactated Ringer's solution per manufacturer's guidelines.

• Inspect solution for particles. Administer through polyethylene-lined administration set attached to 0.22-micron in-line filter.

• To prevent severe hypersensitivity reaction, premedicate with dexamethasone 20 mg 12 and 6 hours before infusion, as prescribed. Also give diphenhydramine 50 mg I.V., plus either cimetidine 300 mg or ranitidine 50 mg I.V. 30 to 60 minutes before paclitaxel.

Keep epinephrine available. If severe hypersensitivity reaction occurs, stop infusion immediately and give epinephrine, I.V. fluids, and additional antihistamine and corticosteroid doses, as indicated and prescribed.

Adverse reactions

CNS: peripheral neuropathy

CV: hypotension, hypertension, syncope, abnormal ECG, bradycardia, venous thrombosis

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomatitis, mucositis

Hematologic: anemia, leukopenia, neutropenia, bleeding, thrombocytopenia

Musculoskeletal: joint pain, myalgia

Skin: alopecia, radiation reactions

Other: infection, injection site reaction, hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis


Drug-drug. Carbamazepine, phenobarbital: decreased paclitaxel blood level and efficacy

Cisplatin: increased bone marrow depression (when paclitaxel dose follows cisplatin dose)

Cyclosporine, diazepam, doxorubicin, felodipine, ketoconazole, midazolam: inhibited paclitaxel metabolism and greater risk of toxicity

Doxorubicin: increased doxorubicin blood level and toxicity

Live-virus vaccines: decreased antibody response to vaccine, increased risk of adverse reactions

Other antineoplastics: increased risk of bone marrow depression

Drug-diagnostic tests. Liver function tests: abnormal results

Triglycerides: increased levels

Patient monitoring

Watch closely for hypersensitivity reaction.

• Monitor heart rate and blood pressure.

• Assess infusion site for local effects and extravasation, especially during prolonged infusion.

Monitor CBC, including platelet count. If neutropenia develops, monitor patient for infection; if thrombocytopenia develops, watch for signs and symptoms of bleeding.

• If patient has preexisting cardiac conduction abnormality, maintain continuous cardiac monitoring.

Patient teaching

• Instruct neutropenic patient to minimize infection risk by avoiding crowds, plants, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

• Tell thrombocytopenic patient to avoid activities that can cause injury. Advise him to use soft toothbrush and electric razor.

Advise patient to promptly report signs and symptoms of infection, bleeding, or peripheral neuropathy (such as numbness and tingling of feet and hands).

• Tell patient to promptly report pain or burning at injection site.

• Explain that temporary hair loss may occur.

• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs and tests mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


Antitumor agent that promotes microtubule assembly by preventing depolymerization; currently used in salvage therapy for metastatic carcinoma of ovary.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


An anticancer drug that was first derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree and is used in the treatment of ovarian and breast cancer that has not responded to prior therapy.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Paxene®, Taxol Oncology An antimitotic anticancer taxane used for KS, breast and ovarian CAs. See Breast CA, Ovarian CA.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Antitumor agent that promotes microtubule assembly by preventing depolymerization; used in salvage therapy for ovarian metastatic carcinoma.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


A TAXANE anticancer drug used mainly to treat ovarian cancer and widespread breast cancer. A brand name is Taxol.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


A drug derived from the common yew tree (Taxus baccata) that is the mainstay of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.
Mentioned in: Ovarian Cancer
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Antitumor agent that promotes microtubule assembly by preventing depolymerization; currently used in salvage therapy for metastatic carcinoma of ovary and other cancers.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Release date- 29082019 - Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the European Commission has approved Tecentriq (atezolizumab) plus chemotherapy (Abraxane [paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension (albumin-bound); nab-paclitaxel]) for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) whose tumours have PD-L1 expression (1%) and who have not received prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease.
Abraxane was approved in 2005 and has more than USD 1bn in sales annually.
The global non-small cell lung cancer therapeutics market report estimates the market size (Revenue USD million - 2014 to 2021) for key market segments based on the drug classes (angiogenesis inhibitors - Avastin, Cyramza; epidermal growth factor receptor blockers - Tarceva, Gilotrif, Iressa; Folate antimetabolites - Alimta; kinase inhibitors - Xalkori, Zykadia; microtubule stabilizers - Abraxane, Docetaxel; and PD-1/ PD-L1 inhibitors - Opdivo, Keytruda), clinical pipeline analysis of phase 1, 2 and 3 drugs (Avelumab, MPDL3280A, MEDI4736, Abemaciclib, etc.), and forecasts growth trends (CAGR% - 2017 to 2021).
Other products include Thalomid, used to treat patients newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma; Abraxane, for the treatment of breast cancer; and Istodax, a lymphoma drug.
Bizzari has significant industry experience from leadership positions in oncology with companies such as Celgene, Rhone-Poulenc and Sanofi-Aventis, where he was involved in the clinical development of several anticancer products, including Taxotere, Eloxatin, Revlimid, Vidaza, Abraxane and Irinotecan.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) decided not to recommend Abraxane for use within the NHS in England or Wales in October 2015.
But in light of a "clear clinical need" for 400 to 500 pancreatic cancer patients in Wales, the Welsh Government has reached an agreement with Abraxane's manufacturer Celgene to secure continued access.
From today Abraxane, used to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer, has been confirmed for continued use by the All Wales Medicine Strategy Group.
Prior to that he led Celgene's Hematology & Oncology franchise, including the global launches of REVLIMID and POMALYST and the acquisitions and integrations of Pharmion (VIDAZA) and Abraxis BioSciences (ABRAXANE).
The company's leadership has long-standing experience in the development of cancer therapies as part of the team that led the early development of Abraxane, a protein-bound paclitaxel compound approved by the FDA and EMA for the treatment of solid tumors, which was acquired by Celgene in 2010 when it merged with Abraxis BioScience Inc.
Campaigners are angry Abraxane has recently been removed from the approved drug list in England by NICE as it is not deemed to be cost effective.
Abraxane to treat pancreatic cancer has been removed, alongside Kadcyla for breast cancer and Avastin for cervical cancer, breast cancer and bowel cancer.