Metastatic Cancer With Unknown Primary Site Medication

Updated: Apr 04, 2022
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD  more...
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Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy are to induce remission, prevent complications, and reduce morbidity. See Medical Care.


Antineoplastic Agents

Class Summary

These agents inhibit cell growth and differentiation.

Paclitaxel (Abraxane, Taxol)

Mechanisms of action are tubulin polymerization and microtubule stabilization, which in turn inhibits mitosis and may result in breakage of chromosomes.

Carboplatin (Paraplatin)

Analog of cisplatin. This is a heavy metal coordination complex that exerts its cytotoxic effect by platination of DNA, a mechanism analogous to alkylation, leading to interstrand and intrastrand DNA crosslinks and inhibition of DNA replication. Binds to protein and other compounds containing SH group. Cytotoxicity can occur at any stage of the cell cycle, but cell is most vulnerable to action of these drugs in G1 and S phase.

Has same efficacy as cisplatin but with better toxicity profile. Main advantages over cisplatin include less nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity not requiring extensive prehydration, less likely to induce nausea and vomiting, but more likely to induce myelotoxicity.

Dose is based on the following formula: total dose (mg) = (target AUC) x (GFR+25) where AUC (area under plasma concentration-time curve) is expressed in mg/mL/min and GFR (glomerular filtration rate) is expressed in mL/min.