October 7, 2019

“Paclitaxel is a chemotherapeutic agent used in many cancer types including early stage breast cancer. Paclitaxel treatment is disrupted in about 25% of patients to prevent worsening of an untreatable side effect called neuropathy, which causes patients to lose feeling and function in their hands and feet,” says Daniel Hertz, PharmD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy. “Currently, all patients receive essentially the same paclitaxel dose. In this manuscript, we demonstrate that some patients’ bodies eliminate paclitaxel more slowly, which increases their risk of treatment disruption due to neuropathy. Our next step is to test whether individualizing each patient’s paclitaxel dose based on their rate of drug elimination prevents neuropathy and improves cancer treatment outcomes.”

“This is critical information to develop personalized treatment strategies to decrease side effects and improve treatment outcomes in patients with several common cancers (i.e., breast, lung, ovarian),” concludes Dr. Hertz. “If you speak with individuals who have friends or family with one of these cancers they are likely to have received paclitaxel or another drug that causes neuropathy and are pretty likely to know how troublesome this toxicity is.”

Read "Paclitaxel Plasma Concentration after the First Infusion Predicts Treatment-Limiting Peripheral Neuropathy" on Clinical Cancer Research's website