Paclitaxel and other taxanes are chemotherapeutic drugs that work by preventing breakdown of microtubules. This effect is particularly effective against rapidly dividing cells, making paclitaxel a useful tool in treating cancers. One side effect associated with microtubule inhibition is peripheral neuropathy. Other side effects seen include myelosuppression and hypersensitivity.

Key Points

  • Paclitaxel / Taxanes
    • Mechanism
      • Blocks microtubule breakdown
        • They do this by hyperstabilizing polymerized microtubules
        • Occurs during the M phase of the cell cycle
          • Prevents anaphase from occurring
            • Toxic to rapidly-dividing cells
    • Clinical Use
      • Ovarian and breast cancers
    • Adverse Effects
      • Peripheral neuropathy
      • Myelosuppression (obvious)
      • Hypersensitivity