Nab-Paclitaxel

Updated 
August 31, 2015

Nab-paclitaxelinfo-icon (Abraxaneinfo-icon) is a taxaneinfo-icon-type chemotherapyinfo-icon medicineinfo-icon used to treat breast cancer. It is paclitaxel (Taxolinfo-icon) wrapped in the proteininfo-icon albumin. The albumin allows the medicine to be given in water. This lessens the risk of an allergic reaction, which is common with taxanes like paclitaxel or docetaxelinfo-icon.

Taxanes must be put in a solvent, a sort of wrapper, so they can dissolve in your body. Some of the side effects of paclitaxel are associated with its wrapper rather than with the medicine itself. So, a different type of paclitaxel, wrapped in protein, was developed. This medicine is called nanoparticle albumin bound-paclitaxel, or nab-paclitaxel.  Like paclitaxel, nab-paclitaxel can be used to treat all stages of breast cancer.

Other names for this medicine include ABI-007, nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel, paclitaxel albumin-stabilized nanoparticle formulationinfo-icon, and protein-bound paclitaxelinfo-icon.

How Nab-paclitaxel Works

Nab-paclitaxelinfo-icon stalls tumorinfo-icon growth by stopping cellinfo-icon division. It is cell-cycle specific, which means it attacks the cells during specific points in their growth.

How Nab-paclitaxel Is Given

Nab-paclitaxelinfo-icon is given by veininfo-icon using an IV, either alone or with other treatments, once every 3 weeks or once per week. It is given in less than 30 minutes, compared to the up to 3 hours it takes to get regular paclitaxel. You may receive medicineinfo-icon to prevent nauseainfo-icon before you begin treatment.

Your doctor will recommend how many cycles you should have.

Side Effects and Things to Remember

The side effects of nab-paclitaxelinfo-icon are similar to those of regular paclitaxel, but nab-paclitaxel has a smaller risk of allergic reaction.

Common side effects include:

Other side effects include:

You should not get nab-paclitaxel if your white blood cell count is low. If you have liver problems, your doctor will likely start out with a lower doseinfo-icon or recommend a different treatment for you.

Before starting nab-paclitaxel, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counterinfo-icon medicines. Also let your providers know about all your medical conditions, including liver, heart or kidney problems. Tell your doctor right away if you develop a fever because it could signal an infection.

You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are receiving nab-paclitaxel. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant or may be pregnant while you are undergoing treatment.

Your doctor, pharmacistinfo-icon or nurseinfo-icon can help you manage your side effects. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.