Cancer Home > Protein-Bound Paclitaxel

Protein-bound paclitaxel is a medication that is prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. It is a new form of paclitaxel that dissolves more easily, is less irritating, and can be injected more quickly. The medicine, which is given through an IV, is usually administered at a healthcare provider's office, a hospital, or an "infusion center." Some side effects of protein-bound paclitaxel include changes in heart rhythm, hair loss, and weakness.

What Is Protein-Bound Paclitaxel?

Protein-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane®) is a prescription medication used to treat breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and pancreatic cancer. It is part of a group of chemotherapy medications called taxanes.
(Click What Is Protein-Bound Paclitaxel Used For? for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Protein-Bound Paclitaxel?

Protein-bound paclitaxel is currently made by Abraxis BioScience, Inc., a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation.

How Does Protein-Bound Paclitaxel Work?

Protein-bound paclitaxel is part of a group of medications called taxanes. These medications stop cancer cells from growing and multiplying by interfering with certain structures in the cell.
While protein-bound paclitaxel can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by protein-bound paclitaxel.
Protein-bound paclitaxel is a new form of paclitaxel. Paclitaxel does not dissolve well and requires solvents in order to be dissolved and injected. These solvents can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Protein-bound paclitaxel is a new form of paclitaxel that is, as the name implies, bound to albumin (a protein normally found in the body). Paclitaxel that is bound to albumin dissolves more easily, and solvents are not needed. This makes protein-bound paclitaxel much less irritating than solvent-based paclitaxel. It also means that protein-bound paclitaxel can be injected more quickly than solvent-based paclitaxel.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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