"May 14, 2013 -- Actress and activist Angelina Jolie's recent decision to have a preventive double mastectomy highlights the difficult choices facing women who find out they have a high risk for breast cancer because of their genes.
Bone marrow suppression (primarily neutropenia) is dose-dependent and a dose-limiting toxicity of ABRAXANE. In clinical studies, Grade 3-4 neutropenia occurred in 34% of patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), 47% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and 38% of patients with pancreatic cancer.
Monitor for myelotoxicity by performing complete blood cell counts frequently, including prior to dosing on Day 1 (for MBC) and Days 1, 8, and 15 (for NSCLC and for pancreatic cancer). Do not administer ABRAXANE to patients with baseline absolute neutrophil counts (ANC) of less than 1,500 cells/mm³. In the case of severe neutropenia ( < 500 cells/mm³ for seven days or more) during a course of ABRAXANE therapy, reduce the dose of ABRAXANE in subsequent courses in patients with either MBC or NSCLC.
In patients with MBC, resume treatment with every-3-week cycles of ABRAXANE after ANC recovers to a level > 1,500 cells/mm³ and platelets recover to a level > 100,000 cells/mm³.
In patients with NSCLC, resume treatment if recommended (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Table 2) at permanently reduced doses for both weekly ABRAXANE and every-3-week carboplatin after ANC recovers to at least 1500 cells/mm³ and platelet count of at least 100,000 cells/mm³ on Day 1 or to an ANC of at least 500 cells/mm³ and platelet count of at least 50,000 cells/mm³ on Days 8 or 15 of the cycle [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
In patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, withhold ABRAXANE and gemcitabine if the ANC is less than 500 cells/mm³ or platelets are less than 50,000 cells/mm³ and delay initiation of the next cycle if the ANC is less than 1500 cells/mm³ or platelet count is less than 100,000 cells/mm³ on Day 1 of the cycle. Resume treatment with appropriate dose reduction if recommended [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Sensory neuropathy is dose- and schedule-dependent [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. The occurrence of Grade 1 or 2 sensory neuropathy does not generally require dose modification. If ≥ Grade 3 sensory neuropathy develops, withhold ABRAXANE treatment until resolution to Grade 1 or 2 for metastatic breast cancer or until resolution to ≤ Grade 1 for NSCLC and pancreatic cancer followed by a dose reduction for all subsequent courses of ABRAXANE [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Sepsis occurred in 5% of patients with or without neutropenia who received ABRAXANE in combination with gemcitabine. Biliary obstruction or presence of biliary stent were risk factors for severe or fatal sepsis. If a patient becomes febrile (regardless of ANC) initiate treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics. For febrile neutropenia, interrupt ABRAXANE and gemcitabine until fever resolves and ANC ≥ 1500, then resume treatment at reduced dose levels [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Pneumonitis, including some cases that were fatal, occurred in 4% of patients receiving ABRAXANE in combination with gemcitabine. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis and interrupt ABRAXANE and gemcitabine during evaluation of suspected pneumonitis. After ruling out infectious etiology and upon making a diagnosis of pneumonitis, permanently discontinue treatment with ABRAXANE and gemcitabine.
Severe and sometimes fatal hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic reactions, have been reported. Patients who experience a severe hypersensitivity reaction to ABRAXANE should not be re-challenged with this drug.
Because the exposure and toxicity of paclitaxel can be increased with hepatic impairment, administration of ABRAXANE in patients with hepatic impairment should be performed with caution. The starting dose should be reduced for patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Use In Specific Populations and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
ABRAXANE contains albumin (human), a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries a remote risk for transmission of viral diseases. A theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) also is considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases or CJD have ever been identified for albumin.
Use in Pregnancy
ABRAXANE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Administration of paclitaxel protein-bound particles to rats during pregnancy at doses lower than the maximum recommended human dose, based on body surface area, caused embryo-fetal toxicities, including intrauterine mortality, increased resorptions, reduced numbers of live fetuses, and malformations.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women receiving ABRAXANE. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving ABRAXANE [see Use in Specific Populations].
Use in Men
Men should be advised not to father a child while receiving ABRAXANE [see Nonclinical Toxicology].
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling
- ABRAXANE injection may cause fetal harm. Advise patients to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving this drug. Women of childbearing potential should use effective contraceptives while receiving ABRAXANE [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use in Specific Populations].
- Advise men not to father a child while receiving ABRAXANE [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Patients must be informed of the risk of low blood cell counts and severe and life-threatening infections and instructed to contact their physician immediately for fever or evidence of infection. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Patients should be instructed to contact their physician for persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or signs of dehydration.
- Patients must be informed that sensory neuropathy occurs frequently with ABRAXANE and patients should advise their physicians of numbness, tingling, pain or weakness involving the extremities [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Explain to patients that alopecia, fatigue/asthenia, and myalgia/arthralgia occur frequently with ABRAXANE
- Instruct patients to contact their physician for signs of an allergic reaction, which could be severe and sometimes fatal. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Instruct patients to contact their physician immediately for sudden onset of dry persistent cough, or shortness of breath [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
The carcinogenic potential of ABRAXANE has not been studied.
Paclitaxel was clastogenic in vitro (chromosome aberrations in human lymphocytes) and in vivo (micronucleus test in mice). ABRAXANE was not mutagenic in the Ames test or the CHO/HGPRT gene mutation assay.
Administration of paclitaxel protein-bound particles to male rats at 42 mg/m² on a weekly basis (approximately 16% of the daily maximum recommended human exposure on a body surface area basis) for 11 weeks prior to mating with untreated female rats resulted in significantly reduced fertility accompanied by decreased pregnancy rates and increased loss of embryos in mated females. A low incidence of skeletal and soft tissue fetal anomalies was also observed at doses of 3 and 12 mg/m²/week in this study (approximately 1 to 5% of the daily maximum recommended human exposure on a mg/m² basis). Testicular atrophy/degeneration was observed in single-dose toxicology studies in rodents administered paclitaxel protein-bound particles at doses lower than the recommended human dose; doses were 54 mg/m² in rodents and 175 mg/m² in dogs.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category D [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women using ABRAXANE. Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, ABRAXANE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving ABRAXANE.
Administration of paclitaxel protein-bound particles to rats during pregnancy, on gestation days 7 to 17 at doses of 6 mg/m² (approximately 2% of the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis) caused embryofetal toxicities, as indicated by intrauterine mortality, increased resorptions (up to 5-fold), reduced numbers of litters and live fetuses, reduction in fetal body weight and increase in fetal anomalies. Fetal anomalies included soft tissue and skeletal malformations, such as eye bulge, folded retina, microphthalmia, and dilation of brain ventricles. A lower incidence of soft tissue and skeletal malformations were also exhibited at 3 mg/m² (approximately 1% of the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis).
It is not known whether paclitaxel is excreted in human milk. Paclitaxel and/or its metabolites were excreted into the milk of lactating rats. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
The safety and effectiveness of ABRAXANE in pediatric patients have not been evaluated.
Of the 229 patients in the randomized study who received ABRAXANE for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, 13% were at least 65 years of age and < 2% were 75 years or older. No toxicities occurred notably more frequently among patients who received ABRAXANE.
Of the 514 patients in the randomized study who received ABRAXANE and carboplatin for the first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, 31% were 65 years or older and 3.5% were 75 years or older. Myelosuppression, peripheral neuropathy, and arthralgia were more frequent in patients 65 years or older compared to patients younger than 65 years old. No overall difference in effectiveness, as measured by response rates, was observed between patients 65 years or older compared to patients younger than 65 years old.
Of the 431 patients in the randomized study who received ABRAXANE and gemcitabine for the first-line treatment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, 41% were 65 years or older and 10% were 75 years or older. No overall differences in effectiveness were observed between patients who were 65 years of age or older and younger patients. Diarrhea, decreased appetite, dehydration and epistaxis were more frequent in patients 65 years or older compared with patients younger than 65 years old. Clinical studies of ABRAXANE did not include sufficient number of patients with pancreatic cancer who were 75 years and older to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients.
Patients with Hepatic Impairment
Because the exposure and toxicity of paclitaxel can be increased in patients with hepatic impairment, the administration of ABRAXANE should be performed with caution in patients with hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Abraxane has not been studied in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer in patients with a bilirubin greater than the upper limit of normal.
Patients with Renal Impairment
The use of ABRAXANE has not been studied in patients with renal impairment.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/19/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Abraxane Information
Abraxane - User Reviews
Abraxane User Reviews
Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Find support and advances in treatment.