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Paclitaxel belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids. Plant alkaloids are made from plants. The vinca alkaloids are made from the periwinkle plant (Catharanthus rosea). The taxanes are made from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree (Taxus).
Paclitaxel (with polyoxyethylated castor oil) is used alone or along with other chemotherapy medications to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where eggs are formed), and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).