More MS news articles for February 2001

DG DISPATCH - ICACT: Paclitaxel Appears Safe For Long-term Use

By Jill Stein
Special to DG News

PARIS, FRANCE -- February 7, 2001 -- Investigators have found no significant long-term toxicity in patients treated with paclitaxel-based chemotherapy for longer than one year.

Dr. Tricia R. Andrews and associates at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, reviewed the charts of 13 patients who had received paclitaxel therapy for at least 12 consecutive months with intervals without therapy shorter than eight weeks.

Reported side effects were assessed for their severity after each treatment cycle, at 12 months of therapy and at a follow-up date following discontinuation of treatment.

Overall, five patients had ovarian, five had breast, two had lung and one had nasopharyngeal cancer.

Paclitaxel was administered either as a single agent or in combination with carboplatin.

There were no significant differences in the frequency and severity of peripheral neuropathy, cytopenias, gastrointestinal upset or dermatologic side effects in these patients after two treatment cycles compared with after 12 months of treatment.

After the discontinuation of chronic paclitaxel therapy, peripheral neuropathy improved in two of four patients and remained stable in the other two patients.

Dr. Andrews said the data show that chronic paclitaxel-based chemotherapy is not usually associated with significant deterioration of peripheral neuropathy, long-term marrow toxicity or other long-term side effects.

While paclitaxel's short-term toxicity had previously been examined, this study is the first to look at the agent's toxicity when administered for periods greater than one year.