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The Efficacy of Low-Dose Paclitaxel Added to Combination Chemotherapy of Carboplatin and Gemcitabine or Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin
  1. Shoji Nagao, MD, PhD*,
  2. Norihiro Iwasa, MD, PhD,
  3. Akira Kurosaki, MD, PhD,
  4. Tadaaki Nishikawa, MD,
  5. Tatsuya Hanaoka, MD,
  6. Kosei Hasegawa, MD, PhD and
  7. Keiichi Fujiwara, MD, PhD
  1. *Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Hyogo Cancer Center, Akashi-city, Hyogo, Japan;
  2. Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Saitama Medical University International Medical Center, Hidaka-city, Saitama, Japan; and
  3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Saitama Medical University Saitama Medical Center, Kawagoe-city, Saitama, Japan.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Shoji Nagao, MD, PhD, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Hyogo Cancer Center, 13–70 Kitaoji-cho, Akashi-city, Hyogo, 673–8558, Japan. E-mail:


Objective Paclitaxel is known to produce the “platelet-sparing effect” that prevents the carboplatin-induced decrease in platelet count. We conducted a pilot study to assess whether the addition of low-dose paclitaxel to carboplatin-based combination chemotherapy prevents thrombocytopenia.

Methods Patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer received intravenous (IV) paclitaxel at 60 mg/m2 followed by IV carboplatin at an area under the curve of 6 and IV pegylated liposomal doxorubicin at 30 mg/m2 on day 1 in a 28-day cycle (DC-LOP) or IV gemcitabine at 1000 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8 in a 21-day cycle (GC-LOP).

Results During May 2011 to December 2011, 7 patients received 29 cycles of DC-LOP; during January 2012 to May 2013, 15 patients received 88 cycles of GC-LOP. Grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia occurred in 2 (33%) of 6 and 9 (56%) of 16 patients in the DC-LOP and GC-LOP groups, respectively. No grade 3/4 nonhematological toxicity was observed. Only one patient who received GC-LOP had grade 2 sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy. Paclitaxel-related toxicities, including muscle pain, arthralgia, and peripheral neuropathy, were consistently rare and mild. The response rates of DC-LOP and GC-LOP were 33% (0, complete response; 2, partial response; 3, stable disease; 1, progression disease) and 50% (2, complete response; 6, partial response; 7, stable disease; 1, progression disease), respectively.

Conclusions Although low-dose paclitaxel addition did not alleviate thrombocytopenia in the setting of this pilot study, the results do not deny the existence of the “platelet-sparing effect” by low-dose paclitaxel. Further investigation of the carboplatin-based combination chemotherapy including a drug with mild hematological toxicity is warranted.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Platelet-sparing effect
  • Low-dose paclitaxel
  • Carboplatin
  • Thrombocytopenia

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.