Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women. Anthracyclines and taxanes are the most active and widely used chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of both early-stage and advanced breast cancer. In the past decade, novel formulations of these cytotoxic agents have been developed to improve efficacy and decrease toxicity. nab-paclitaxel is a solvent-free, albumin-bound 130-nm particle form of paclitaxel (Abraxane ®, Abraxis Bioscience, CA, USA), which was developed to avoid toxicities associated with the Cremophor vehicle used in solvent-based paclitaxel. In a Phase III study, nab-paclitaxel demonstrated higher response rates, a better safety profile compared with conventional paclitaxel, and improved survival in patients receiving it as second-line therapy. Based on this pivotal trial, nab-paclitaxel is now approved in the USA for treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant therapy where prior therapy included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated. Recently, several Phase II studies have suggested a role for nab-paclitaxel as a single agent and in combination with other agents for first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Studies are ongoing to explore the use of nab-paclitaxel in other solid tumors such as non-small-cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer and malignant melanoma.
- metastatic breast cancer
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