Paclitaxel (Page 6 of 15)

Cutaneous Tumor Response (Amended ACTG Criteria)

The objective response rate was 59% (95% CI, 46% to 72%) (35 of 59 patients) in patients with prior systemic therapy. Cutaneous responses were primarily defined as flattening of more than 50% of previously raised lesions.

Table 8. Overall Best Response (Amended ACTG Criteria) Percent of Patients
Prior Systemic Therapy (n=59)
Complete response 3
Partial response 56
Stable disease 29
Progression 8
Early death/toxicity 3

The median time to response was 8.1 weeks and the median duration of response measured from the first day of treatment was 10.4 months (95% CI, 7.0 to 11.0 months) for the patients who had previously received systemic therapy. The median time to progression was 6.2 months (95% CI, 4.6 to 8.7 months).

Additional Clinical Benefit

Most data on patient benefit were assessed retrospectively (plans for such analyses were not included in the study protocols). Nonetheless, clinical descriptions and photographs indicated clear benefit in some patients, including instances of improved pulmonary function in patients with pulmonary involvement, improved ambulation, resolution of ulcers, and decreased analgesic requirements in patients with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) involving the feet and resolution of facial lesions and edema in patients with KS involving the face, extremities, and genitalia.


The adverse event profile of paclitaxel administered to patients with advanced HIV disease and poor-risk AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma was generally similar to that seen in the pooled analysis of data from 812 patients with solid tumors. These adverse events and adverse events from the Phase 2 second-line Kaposi’s sarcoma studies are described in the ADVERSE REACTIONS section in tabular (Tables 10 and 16) and narrative form. In this immunosuppressed patient population, however, a lower dose intensity of paclitaxel and supportive therapy including hematopoietic growth factors in patients with severe neutropenia are recommended. Patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma may have more severe hematologic toxicities than patients with solid tumors.


Paclitaxel Injection, USP is indicated as subsequent therapy for the treatment of advanced carcinoma of the ovary. As first-line therapy, paclitaxel is indicated in combination with cisplatin.

Paclitaxel is indicated for the adjuvant treatment of node-positive breast cancer administered sequentially to standard doxorubicin-containing combination chemotherapy. In the clinical trial, there was an overall favorable effect on disease-free and overall survival in the total population of patients with receptor-positive and receptor-negative tumors, but the benefit has been specifically demonstrated by available data (median follow-up 30 months) only in the patients with estrogen and progesterone receptornegative tumors (see CLINICAL STUDIES, Breast Carcinoma).

Paclitaxel Injection, USP is indicated for the treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated.

Paclitaxel, in combination with cisplatin, is indicated for the first-line treatment of nonsmall cell lung cancer in patients who are not candidates for potentially curative surgery and/or radiation therapy.

Paclitaxel is indicated for the second-line treatment of AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma.


Paclitaxel Injection, USP is contraindicated in patients who have a history of hypersensitivity reactions to paclitaxel or other drugs formulated in Polyoxyl 35 Castor Oil, NF.

Paclitaxel Injection, USP should not be used in patients with solid tumors who have baseline neutrophil counts of <1,500 cells/mm3 or in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma with baseline neutrophil counts of <1,000 cells/mm3.


Anaphylaxis and severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by dyspnea and hypotension requiring treatment, angioedema, and generalized urticaria have occurred in 2% to 4% of patients receiving paclitaxel in clinical trials. Fatal reactions have occurred in patients despite premedication. All patients should be pretreated with corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and H2 antagonists (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section). Patients who experience severe hypersensitivity reactions to paclitaxel should not be rechallenged with the drug.

Bone marrow suppression (primarily neutropenia) is dose-dependent and is the dose-limiting toxicity. Neutrophil nadirs occurred at a median of 11 days. Paclitaxel should not be administered to patients with baseline neutrophil counts of less than 1,500 cells/mm3 (<1,000 cells/mm3 for patients with KS). Frequent monitoring of blood counts should be instituted during paclitaxel treatment. Patients should not be re-treated with subsequent cycles of paclitaxel until neutrophils recover to a level >1,500 cells/mm3 (>1,000 cells/mm3 for patients with KS) and platelets recover to a level >100,000 cells/mm3.

Severe conduction abnormalities have been documented in <1% of patients during paclitaxel therapy and in some cases requiring pacemaker placement. If patients develop significant conduction abnormalities during paclitaxel infusion, appropriate therapy should be administered and continuous cardiac monitoring should be performed during subsequent therapy with paclitaxel.


Paclitaxel can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Administration of paclitaxel during the period of organogenesis to rabbits at doses of 3.0 mg/kg/day (about 0.2 the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis) caused embryo- and fetotoxicity, as indicated by intrauterine mortality, increased resorptions, and increased fetal deaths. Maternal toxicity was also observed at this dose. No teratogenic effects were observed at 1.0 mg/kg/day (about 1/15 the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis); teratogenic potential could not be assessed at higher doses due to extensive fetal mortality.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. If paclitaxel is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant.


Contact of the undiluted concentrate with plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) equipment or devices used to prepare solutions for infusion is not recommended. In order to minimize patient exposure to the plasticizer DEHP [di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate], which may be leached from PVC infusion bags or sets, diluted Paclitaxel Injection, USP solutions should preferably be stored in bottles (glass, polypropylene) or plastic bags (polypropylene, polyolefin) and administered through polyethylene-lined administration sets.

Paclitaxel should be administered through an in-line filter with a microporous membrane not greater than 0.22 microns. Use of filter devices such as IVEX-2® filters which incorporate short inlet and outlet PVC-coated tubing has not resulted in significant leaching of DEHP.

Drug Interactions

In a Phase I trial using escalating doses of paclitaxel (110 to 200 mg/m2) and cisplatin (50 or 75 mg/m2) given as sequential infusions, myelosuppression was more profound when paclitaxel was given after cisplatin than with the alternate sequence (i.e., paclitaxel before cisplatin). Pharmacokinetic data from these patients demonstrated a decrease in paclitaxel clearance of approximately 33% when paclitaxel was administered following cisplatin.

The metabolism of paclitaxel is catalyzed by cytochrome P450 isoenzymes CYP2C8 and CYP3A4. In the absence of formal clinical drug interaction studies, caution should be exercised when administering paclitaxel concomitantly with known substrates or inhibitors of the cytochrome P450 isoenzymes CYP2C8 and CYP3A4. Caution should be exercised when paclitaxel is concomitantly administered with known substrates (e.g., midazolam, buspirone, felodipine, lovastatin, eletriptan, sildenafil, simvastatin, and triazolam), inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, clarithromycin, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, nefazodone, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, and telithromycin), and inducers (e.g., rifampin and carbamazepine) of CYP3A4 (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY section).

Caution should also be exercised when paclitaxel is concomitantly administered with known substrates (e.g., repaglinide and rosiglitazone), inhibitors (e.g., gemfibrozil), and inducers (e.g., rifampin) of CYP2C8 (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

Potential interactions between paclitaxel, a substrate of CYP3A4, and protease inhibitors (ritonavir, saquinavir, indinavir, and nelfinavir), which are substrates and/or inhibitors of CYP3A4, have not been evaluated in clinical trials.

Reports in the literature suggest that plasma levels of doxorubicin (and its active metabolite doxorubicinol) may be increased when paclitaxel and doxorubicin are used in combination.

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