Taxanes, past, present, and future impact on non-small cell lung cancer

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Taxanes are novel microtubule-stabilizing agents and have shown efficacy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) since the 1990s. Paclitaxel and docetaxel have been used either as single agents or in combination with a platinum compound. The newer generation albumin-bound taxane, nab-paclitaxel, has also shown similar efficacy in advanced NSCLC, both as a single agent and in combination with a platinum compound. Nab-paclitaxel, being Cremophor EL free, appears to have a better toxicity profile than paclitaxel. Taxane/platinum combinations still remain the foundation of treatment for advanced or metastatic NSCLC. Docetaxel and paclitaxel as single agents have also shown efficacy in the second-line setting in advanced/metastatic NSCLC. Oral formulations of paclitaxel and docetaxel are of great interest, but have yet to receive regulatory approval in this disease. The phase I–II trials have shown that these formulations are feasible in the clinical setting.

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