Last reviewed 01/2018

Paclitaxel is a taxoid which is indicated in the treatment of:

  • advanced ovarian cancer which is resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy (1,2):
    • response rates of 20-35%
    • no evidence that paclitaxel prolongs life

  • breast cancer which is resistant to first line chemotherapy such as anthracyclines:
    • response rates of 30% (2)
    • paclitaxel is better than mitomycin as a second-line agent
    • however NICE concluded that paclitaxel, within its licensed indication (adjuvant treatment of node-positive breast carcinoma following anthracycline and cyclophosphamide therapy), is not recommended for the adjuvant treatment of women with early node-positive breast cancer (3)


  1. McGuire WP et al.Cyclophosphamide and cisplatin compared with paclitaxel and cisplatin in patients with stage III or stage IV disease. NEJM 1996;334: 1-6.
  2. Drug & Therapeutics Bulletin. Paclitaxel and docetaxel in breast and ovarian cancer. The Consumer's association 1997; 35 (6): 43-6.
  3. NICE (September 2006). Paclitaxel for the adjuvant treatment of early node-positive breast cancer