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Paclitaxel in a Pill? A New Option for Breast Cancer Treatment

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Published on February 26, 2020

Key Takeaways

Soon we may have paclitaxel  in a pill, instead of as an infusion to treat breast cancer. Expert Dr. Gerardo Antonio Umanzor Funez, from Centro Oncologico Integral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, shares exciting results from a recent clinical trial comparing an oral version to the regular IV form. The new, oral formulation from Athenex in combination with encequidar showed fewer side effects and improved response, according to the Phase III study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Watch now to find out more from a breast cancer expert.

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Transcript | Paclitaxel in a Pill? A New Option for Breast Cancer Treatment

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrea Hutton:

Hello.  I'm Andrea Hutton from Patient Power.  I'm here at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the largest breast cancer conference in the world.  And I'm here talking today with Dr. Umanzor who is a medical oncologist who is practicing in Honduras. 

Dr. Umanzor:

Yes. 

Andrea Hutton:

So, first of all, tell me why you're here at this conference in Texas?  What are you doing here from Honduras?   

Dr. Umanzor:

Of course.  So, I'm happy and excited to tell you that we're presenting results for a clinical trial.  Tomorrow actually we have an oral presentation for an oral paclitaxel.  It's a Phase III clinical trial, and I was the lead investigator in that trial, so I'm up here trying to give some results for that trial that we made. 

Andrea Hutton:

So it's results from an oral paclitaxel drug. 

Dr. Umanzor:

Exactly. 

Andrea Hutton:

So we have paclitaxel, which is normally an infusion drug. 

Dr. Umanzor:

Exactly. 

Andrea Hutton:

And so for patients, what might this mean for them? 

Dr. Umanzor:

Well, that's I think the key here that you have an orally administered drug which is going to take out some of the discomfort that the IV drug gives you, because you have to think about a patient has to get to the IV center, which she's got to schedule.  She has to get the labs then go to the infusion center.  She has to wait her turn, then the infusion usually takes a while.  And afterwards the side effects might have some side effects due to the infusion, then she has to go home.  So what many patients tell us is that they're investing a whole day of their lives. 

As for the oral administration we see that the patients can take it at home.  They don't have to interrupt their activities, so definitely I think that that is a key point in having it orally versus IV. 

Andrea Hutton:

So it sounds like it would be more convenient for patients...

Dr. Umanzor:

Much more convenient for sure. 

Andrea Hutton:

...for sure.  Are there any other differences?  Is it going to work the same?  Are the side effects the same? 

Dr. Umanzor:

So we're presenting results, and we're happy to say that for the end points that we were setting out to get with the trial we have better response rates, which was our primary end point.  We have also data on overall survival, which has shown that it is favoring the oral paclitaxel, so better overall survival.  It's still early data, so we think it's going to be even better hopefully in the future. 

And with less side effects because we were mentioning about the problem with the IV, but also there is a problem with the paclitaxel with the neuropathy. That if you get a neuropathy and it's a grade 3 or higher, then it can stick with you for life, and it's really incapacitating.  So the other benefit...

Andrea Hutton:

...and that's in your hands and feet, yeah. 

Dr. Umanzor:

Yes.  And there's no treatment for it.  It doesn't go away.  So we're very happy that with this drug we've made one of the aims that was showing that we have less neuropathy, much less neuropathy with this type of patient, so we can avoid that type of toxicity. 

Also we got less alopecia, which could be important for some patients. 

Andrea Hutton:

I can keep my hair, maybe? 

Dr. Umanzor:

Yeah, because you have about 50 percent less alopecia.  So that's the positive side of the drug.  They can give it orally, and it has taken away the side effects that we don't like about the IV paclitaxel. 

Andrea Hutton:

Well, that sounds very hopeful, and we always look to our principal investigators who are looking for clinical trials to help patients like me and others...

Dr. Umanzor:

Definitely. 

Andrea Hutton:

...to provide better treatment...

Dr. Umanzor:

Definitely. 

Andrea Hutton:

...and more effective.  So thank you so much...

Dr. Umanzor:

Thank you for having me. 

Andrea Hutton:

...for giving us a little more knowledge and some hope...

Dr. Umanzor:

Thank you. 

Andrea Hutton:

...for the future as well. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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