The taxanes are an important new class of anticancer agents that exert their cytotoxic effects through a unique mechanism. Paclitaxel (Taxol), the first taxane in clinical trials, is active against a broad range of cancers that are generally considered to be refractory to conventional chemotherapy. This has led to the regulatory approval of paclitaxel in the United States and many other countries for use in the palliative therapy of patients with ovarian and breast cancers resistant to chemotherapy. The challenge now is to develop strategies using paclitaxel in the initial therapy of cancers in which cure or improved survival may.
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