Taxol is one of the world's most effective anticancer drugs. This drug is the product of the yew tree and some of its associated endophytic microorganisms. It is used to treat several cancers including tumours of the breast, ovary, and lung. It may serve as an example of how other anticancer drugs may be discovered.

Keywords: Taxus; cancer; tubulin; endophytes

Figure 1.

Taxus brevifolia, an understorey tree.

Figure 2.

Chemical structure of taxol.

Figure 3.

Scanning electron micrograph of some species of Pestalotiopsis microspora, a taxol‐producing fungus (original magnification ×2900).


Further Reading

Georg GI, Chen TT, Ojima I and Vyas DM (eds) (1994) Taxane Anticancer Agents Basic Science Current Status. American Chemical Society Symposium Series no. 583 Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.

Hartzell H (1991) The Yew Tree. Eugene, Oregon: Hugolosi Press.

Kingston D (1991) The chemistry of taxol. Pharmacology and Therapeutics 52: 1–34.

Nicolaou KC, Yang Z, Liu JJ et al. (1994) Total synthesis of taxol. Nature 367: 630–634.

Rowinski EK, Cazanave LA and Donehower FC (1990) Taxol: A novel investigational antimicrotubule agent. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 82: 1247–1259.

Rowinski EK, Wright M, Monsarrat B, Lesser G and Donehower J (1993) Taxol: Pharmacology, metabolism and clinical implications. Cancer Surveys: 17: 283–304.

Schiff PB, Fant J and Horowitz SB (1979) Promotion of microtubule assembly in vitro by taxol. Nature 277: 665–667.

Strobel G, Yang X, Sears J et al. (1996) Taxol from Pestalotiopsis microspora, an endophytic fungus of Taxus wallachiana. Microbiology 142: 435–440.

Suffness M (1993) Taxol: From discovery to therapeutic use. Annual Reports in Medical Chemistry 28: 305–314.

Suffness M (1995) Taxol, Science and Applications. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Suffness M (1995) Overview of paclitaxel research: Progress on many fronts. American Chemical Society Symposium Series 583: 1–17.

Wani MC, Taylor HL, Wall ME, Coggon P and McPhail AT (1971) Plant antitumor agents. VI. The isolation and structure of taxol, a novel antileukemic and antitumor agent from Taxus brevifolia. Journal of the American Chemistry Society 93: 2325–2327.

Young DH, Michelotti EJ, Sivendell CS and Krauss NE (1992) Antifungal properties of taxol and various analogues. Experentia 48: 882–885.

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How to Cite close
Strobel, Gary A(Apr 2001) Taxol. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001917]