SKU: P045  / 
    CAS Number: 33069-62-4

    Paclitaxel (Taxol)


    Paclitaxel (Taxol) is a natural product.  It is a diterpenoid compound and unique anti-tumor agent derived from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree (Taxus brevifolia).  The molecule consists of a complex diterpene with a taxane ring. It is a potent anti-neoplastic and anti-mitotic compound.  

    Paclitaxel was discovered in the late 1960s by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) during screenings of plant extracts in search of potential anticancer agents.  

    Pacitaxel is sparingly soluble in ethanol, DMSO, and DMF.

    Mechanism of Action

    Paclitaxel has a unique mechanism of action.  In vitro, it enhances tubulin polymerization to stablize microtubules againse cold- and calcium-induced depolymerization.  It is unique among chemotherapeutic agents, polymerizing tubulin in the absence of cofactors.  Paclitaxel prevents tumor growth by stabilizing microtubules during mitosis in the G2/M growth phase leading to cell death.  It induces apoptosis in cancer cells that have accumulated due to defective cell division.

    Cancer Applications

    Paclitaxel can be used to study effects on actively dividing tumor cells. It has been used for a range of cancer types including breast, ovarian, bladder, lung, prostate, penile, testicular, melanoma, esophageal, stomach, melanoma, thyroid, Kaposi sarcoma, and others.

    Cancer cells have a heightened sensitivity to Paclitaxel because they depend on microtubule dynamics for sustained growth and division.  By disrupting the formation of the mitotic spindle, the compound can target cancer cells and inhibits their ability to proliferate.


    Fiser A et al (2006)  Insights into the mechanism of microtubule stabilization by Taxol. PNAS 103(27): 10166-10173

    Horwitz SB (1994)  Taxol (paclitaxel): Mechanisms of Action. Ann. Oncol 5 Suppl 6:S3-6  PMID 7865431

    Awosika AO, Farrar MC, Jacobs TF (2023)  Paclitaxel. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing