Paclitaxel (Taxol), one of the most commonly used chemotherapeutic agents, is poorly soluble in water and requires cremophor, which often causes infusion reactions, as a solvent. Nanoxel, a nanoparticle formulation of the taxane, has been approved by the Indian regulatory authority. In the present article, we aim to describe the experience with the use of Nanoxel in India and its clinical and economic implications. We present three retrospective series in a common practice environment and an economic model. The first series shows no reactions in 596 Nanoxel infusions; the second series shows comparable adverse events other than infusion reactions between 83 patients who received Nanoxel and 32 treated with conventional paclitaxel. The third reveals comparable clinical outcomes for 51 patients treated with Nanoxel or conventional paclitaxel for gastroesophageal tumors. Finally, we describe an economic model which estimates savings of 21 580 Indian rupees per cycle with Nanoxel vis-á-vis conventional paclitaxel in the treatment of solid tumors in India. In conclusion, in an era in which the greatest challenge we face as medical oncologists is how to conciliate hard-won and incremental-but small-improvements in survival with exponentially rising drugs costs, it is refreshing to see a potential new formulation of a commonly used drug that may actually generate cost-savings while improving clinical outcomes and patient well-being. Further studies are clearly warranted to determine the optimal dose and schedule for Nanoxel as well as its comparative effectiveness to cremophor-based paclitaxel.
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