Are taxanes as effective in basal-like breast cancers?


Question from ElvaM: Can you elaborate on what I thought I read about the taxane drugs not being as effective or finding that they are not effective in treating basal-like breast cancer? And is that referring to triple-negative? Could you specify which taxane drugs this refers to, please?
Answers - Andrew D. Seidman, M.D. I am surprised actually by the question. In fact, if there is a particular subtype of breast cancer where the contribution of taxanes such as paclitaxel (brand name: Taxol) or docetaxel (brand name: Taxotere) is not effective, it is not the triple-negative subtype, but rather the luminal A subtype. In randomized trials, taxanes appear to contribute particularly among patients with both estrogen-receptor-negative as well as triple-negative breast cancer. There are actually two important references to this statement. One is a paper published by Dr. Daniel Hayes in the New England Journal of Medicine, I believe in 2008, and the other is a separate paper by Donald Berry in JAMA in 2006, I believe. There's no reason to be pessimistic about the role of taxanes in triple-negative or basal-like breast cancers.

On Thursday, June 10, 2010, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting. Andrew Seidman, M.D. and Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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