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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 703858, 9 pages
Review Article

Advancements in the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC): The Role of Ixabepilone

Department of Medical Oncology, G. Morris Dorrance Jr. Endowed Chair in Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Room C315, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA

Received 6 January 2012; Accepted 18 February 2012

Academic Editor: Thomas Rutherford

Copyright © 2012 Massimo Cristofanilli. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Successful management of breast cancer in the metastatic setting is often confounded by resistance to chemotherapeutics, in particular anthracyclines and taxanes. The limited number of effective treatment options for patients with more aggressive biological subtypes, such as triple-negative metastatic breast cancer, is especially concerning. As such, a therapy clinically proven to be effective in this subtype would be of great value. Ixabepilone, a novel synthetic lactam analog of epothilone B, demonstrated better clinical outcomes in metastatic disease, particularly in triple-negative breast cancer. Most recently, studies have shown the activity of ixabepilone in the neoadjuvant setting, suggesting a role for this drug in primary disease. Notably, treating in the neoadjuvant setting might allow clinicians to explore the predictive value of biomarkers and response to treatment, as pharmacogenomic approaches to therapy continue to evolve. In this article, we review the efficacy and safety data of ixabepilone as a monotherapy and as a component of combination therapy for metastatic and primary breast cancer.