University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
Last Modified: May 18, 1998
Each year approximately 45,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. New research demonstrates that higher doses of Paclitaxel (Taxol) are not necessarily more effective in patients with advanced breast cancers, and that patients can be spared the increased toxicities associated with high doses.
This study of 475 women with metastatic breast cancer found that higher-than-standard doses of Paclitaxel, one of the standard therapies for treating women with advanced breast cancer, does not improve survival, and that the drug's efficacy actually declined at higher doses (28% tumor response rate at a moderate dose, but only 22% at a higher dose). This finding is particularly relevant given the trend in recent years to increase the dose of chemotherapy agents with the presumption that they will be more active, a hypothesis that had not yet been fully tested.