According to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, continued treatment with Taxol® (paclitaxel) does not improve progression-free survival for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread from the breast to distant sites in the body. Standard treatment for metastatic breast cancer often includes chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy with or without radiation therapy. Since treatment is often aimed at improving duration of survival and/or quality of life, researchers continue to evaluate optimal therapeutic regimens to improve long-term outcomes for these patients.

Researchers from Italy recently conducted a clinical trial in to evaluate whether continued treatment with Taxol following initial chemotherapy improved progression-free survival for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

The trial included 215 patients who were initially treated with Ellence® or Adriamycin® plus Taxol. All patients achieved anticancer responses or disease stabilization with the initial therapy. Approximately half of the patients were then treated with an additional eight cycles of treatment with Taxol, referred to as maintenance therapy, or no further therapy (control group).

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  • There were no differences progression-free survival times between the two groups of patients.
  • There were no differences overall survival times between the two groups of patients.

The researchers concluded that maintenance therapy with Taxol does not improve progression-free survival or overall survival in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Because of these results, the trial was closed.

Patients diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial evaluating novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of their disease. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute ( and

Reference: Gennari A, Amadori D, De Lena M, et al. Lack of Benefit of Maintenance Paclitaxel in First-Line Chemotherapy in Metastatic Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006; 243912-3918.

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