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Current status of Taxotere® (docetaxel) as a new treatment in breast cancer


Therapy for advanced breast cancer has not improved significantly in recent years, remaining strictly palliative in nature and intent. One approach to increase the effectiveness of the treatment is the introduction of active new drugs. Taxotere® (docetaxel) is a taxoid derivative isolated from the needles of the European yew,Taxus baccata. Taxotere promotes the assembly of microtubules and inhibits their depolymerization. One EORTC Clinical Screening Group (CSG) phase II trial using Taxotere at 100 mg/m2, 1 hour infusion without routine premedication for hypersensitivity reactions, in first line chemotherapy, indicates a high anti-tumor activity: 5 complete and 18 partial responses in 32 patients assessable for response (overall response rate 72%, 95% CI 53%–86%). Other studies confirm this activity in first line and second line chemotherapy for advanced disease and in patients who are refractory to anthracycline containing regimens. Grades III and IV neutropenia without major infection, and grades I and II skin toxicity, were frequently observed adverse events. A fluid retention syndrome (chronic cumulative and non life-threatening toxicity) has been noted in patients treated with Taxotere. Methods for controlling fluid retention — dose reduction to 75 mg/m2 (which has little effect) or routine premedication from the start of treatment — are currently being studied.

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Correspondence to P. Fumoleau.

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Fumoleau, P., Chevallier, B., Kerbrat, P. et al. Current status of Taxotere® (docetaxel) as a new treatment in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Tr 33, 39–46 (1995).

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Key words

  • breast cancer
  • phase II trials
  • Taxotere® (docetaxel)
  • taxoids