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Paclitaxel chemotherapy: from empiricism to a mechanism-based formulation strategy

Authors Charity D Scripture, William D Figg, Alex Sparreboom

Published 15 July 2005 Volume 2005:1(2) Pages 107—114

Charity D Scripture, William D Figg, Alex Sparreboom

Clinical Pharmacology Research Core, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA

Abstract: Paclitaxel is an anticancer agent effective for the treatment of breast, ovarian, lung, and head and neck cancer. Because of water insolubility, paclitaxel is formulated with the micelle-forming vehicle Cremophor EL to enhance drug solubility. However, the addition of Cremophor EL results in hypersensitivity reactions, neurotoxicity, and altered pharmacokinetics of paclitaxel. To circumvent these unfavorable effects resulting from the addition of Cremophor EL, efforts have been made to develop new delivery systems for paclitaxel administration. For example, ABI-007 is a Cremophor-free, albumin-stabilized, nanoparticle paclitaxel formulation that was found to have significantly less toxicity than Cremophor-containing paclitaxel in mice. Pharmacokinetic studies indicate that in contrast to Cremophor-containing paclitaxel, ABI-007 displays linear pharmacokinetics over the clinically relevant dose range of 135–300 mg/m2. In a phase III study conducted in patients with metastatic breast cancer, patients treated with ABI-007 achieved a significantly higher objective response rate and time to progression than those treated with Cremophor-containing paclitaxel. Together these findings suggest that nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel may enable clinicians to administer paclitaxel at higher doses with less toxicity than is seen with Cremophor-containing paclitaxel. The role of this novel paclitaxel formulation in combination therapy with other antineoplastic agents needs to be determined.

Keywords: paclitaxel, nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel, pharmacokinetics

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