NE Oncology Issue – June 2007
This is a relatively small phase III trial that mirrors a study that has already been published comparing nab-paclitaxel with paclitaxel.2 The results are comparable to the published study in terms of better response rates and time to progression with nab-paclitaxel, as well as less toxicity. It is always nice to see confirmatory trials, although this one is a much smaller trial. It seems to be well established now that nabpaclitaxel 260 mg/m2 is superior to paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 given every three weeks.
When cost or coverage is taken out of the equation, in my view nab-paclitaxel is better than standard paclitaxel, when given every three weeks for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. The next rational investigation of nab-paclitaxel compared to solvent-based paclitaxel is in the adjuvant treatment of early stage breast cancer and in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents (e.g., gemcitabine) or targeted agents (trastuzumab and bevacizumab).
References: 1. Winer EP, Berry DA, Woolf S, et al. Failure of higher-dose paclitaxel to improve outcome in patients with metastatic breast cancer: cancer and leukemia group B trial 9342. J Clin Oncol 2004;22:2061–2068. 2. Gradishar WJ, Tjulandin S, Davidson N, et al. Phase III trial of nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel compared with polyethylated castor oil-based paclitaxel in women with breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2005;23:7794–7803. 3. Guan Z-Z, Feng F, Li QL, et al. Randomized study comparing nab-paclitaxel with solvent-based paclitaxel in Chinese patients (pts) with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Program and abstracts of the 43rd American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 1–5, 2007; Chicago, Illinois; Abstract 1038.
Vera Hirsh, MD, FRCPC
Chief of the Hematology-Oncology Service, Santa Cabrini Hospital
Associate Professor, Medicine and Oncology, McGill University
Associate Physician, Oncology Service, at the Royal Victoria, Montreal General, and Montreal Chest Hospitals
With a current practice in both hematology and oncology, Dr. Vera Hirsh is an associate professor of medicine and oncology at McGill University. Her research at the Quebec Pulmonary Unit focuses on the treatment of lung cancer, and she continues to chair ongoing international chemotherapy trials. Dr. Hirsh chaired the Quebec Lung Cancer Committee to establish guidelines for the treatment of lung cancer. In addition, she has published abstracts, articles, and book chapters. Dr. Hirsh is a member of advisory boards for many pharmaceutical companies and the Medical Oncology Standing Committee of RTOG.
Christine Cripps, MD, FRCPC
Medical Oncologist, Director,
Continuing Medical Education,
Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre
Dr. Christine Cripps is a medical oncologist and director of the Continuing Medical Education Department at the Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre. She also holds a position of Associate Professor, Medicine at the University of Ottawa. A keen teacher, Dr. Cripps’ main areas of interest include gastrointestinal cancer and head and neck cancer. She also enjoys cycling, skiing, and sailing when time permits.
Stephen K. L. Chia, MD, FRCPC
Assistant Professor of Medicine Department of Medicine
University of British Columbia
British Columbia Cancer Agency
Dr. Chia is a staff oncologist with the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA), Vancouver, Canada. He also serves as physician coordinator for both the breast cancer and head and neck cancer clinical trials at the BCCA – Vancouver Cancer Centre. He is an active researcher in phase I-III trials in breast cancer, head and neck cancer and investigational new drugs. He is currently carrying out studies in breast cancer with grant funded research from the National Cancer Institute of Canada, Canadian Breast Cancer Alliance and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – British Columbia/Yukon Chapter. Dr. Chia is an active member of the British Columbia Breast Tumor Group, Breast Cancer Systemic Policy Group and Head and Neck Tumor Group.
José Chang, MD, FRCPC
Head of Medical Oncology, RS
McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, Oshawa
Dr. José Chang is the principal investigator and site representative for the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group, and is an examiner for the Medical Council of Canada. His research interests lie in the areas of breast cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, and quality of life during chemotherapy. Dr Chang has presented at major oncology meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposia, and European Breast Cancer Conference. A member of the editorial board of the journal Current Oncology, Dr. Chang has published in journals such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, European Journal of Cancer, and Canadian Medical Association Journal.