Taxanes in combination with biologic agents for ovarian and breast cancers

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Taxane-based cytotoxic therapy is commonly prescribed for breast and ovarian cancers. Although these cancers are often sensitive to such therapy, clinical benefit and overall survival are limited owing to the development of chemoresistance and recurrence. Biologic agents that specifically target proteins of growth factor signaling pathways, which are hyperactivated in cancers, offer attractive targets for cancer therapeutics and may work synergistically with standard taxane-based chemotherapy to improve patient outcomes. We review clinical trials of biologic agents – angiogenic, tyrosine kinase, and antibody inhibitors – in combination with taxane-based therapy for ovarian and breast cancers. Many clinical trials have shown promising results. However, some biologic agents still need larger trials to assess safety and efficacy. As research into the heterogeneity and complexity of ovarian and breast cancers improves our understanding of the molecular pathways involved, there is no question that targeted therapies with biologic agents will expand the future array of available cancer therapeutics.

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