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Ixabepilone: a new chemotherapeutic option for refractory metastatic breast cancer

Authors Puhalla S, Brufsky A

Published 12 September 2008 Volume 2008:2(3) Pages 505—515


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Shannon Puhalla, Adam Brufsky

UPMC Magee-Womens Cancer Program, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Abstract: Taxane therapy is commonly used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. However, most patients will eventually become refractory to these agents. Ixabepilone is a newly approved chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Although it targets microtubules similarly to docetaxel and paclitaxel, ixabepilone has activity in patients that are refractory to taxanes. This review summarizes the pharmacology of ixapebilone and clinical trials with the drug both as a single agent and in combination. Data were obtained using searches of PubMed and abstracts of the annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium from 1995 to 2008. Ixapebilone is a semi-synthetic analog of epothilone B that acts to induce apoptosis of cancer cells via the stabilization of microtubules. Phase I clinical trials have employed various dosing schedules ranging from daily to weekly to 3-weekly. Dose-limiting toxicites included neuropathy and neutropenia. Responses were seen in a variety of tumor types. Phase II studies verified activity in taxane-refractory metastatic breast cancer. The FDA has approved ixabepilone for use as monotherapy and in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Ixabepilone is an efficacious option for patients with refractory metastatic breast cancer. The safety profile is similar to that of taxanes, with neuropathy and neutropenia being dose-limiting. Studies are ongoing with the use of both iv and oral formulations and in combination with other chemotherapeutic and biologic agents.

Keywords: ixabepilone, epothilone, metastatic breast cancer, taxane-refractory

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