Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 3073–3081 | Cite as

Taxane acute pain syndrome (TAPS) in patients receiving chemotherapy for breast or prostate cancer: a prospective multi-center study

  • R. Fernandes
  • S. Mazzarello
  • A. A. Joy
  • G. R. Pond
  • J. Hilton
  • M. F. K. Ibrahim
  • C. Canil
  • M. Ong
  • C. Stober
  • L. Vandermeer
  • B. Hutton
  • M. da Costa
  • S. Damaraju
  • Mark Clemons
Original Article



Taxane acute pain syndrome (TAPS) is characterized by myalgias and arthralgias starting 2–3 days after taxane-based chemotherapy and lasting up to 7 days. In the absence of validated tools, many studies use the presence of both the myalgia and arthralgia components of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) to define TAPS. The present study prospectively evaluated the frequency, severity, and impact of TAPS in patients with breast or prostate cancer.

Patients and methods

In this prospective, non-randomized study, patients with breast or prostate cancer commencing taxane-based chemotherapy completed the CTCAE (version 4.03), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Taxane (FACT-T), and Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) questionnaires at baseline and once between days 5 and 7 of each chemotherapy cycle.


From March 2015 to April 1, 2016, 75 patients (breast n = 66, prostate n = 9) were enrolled; 83% received docetaxel and 16% paclitaxel and 1% withdrew. After the first cycle of taxane, TAPS was reported by 25/69 (36.2%) patients; a further 8/69 (18.2%) reporting TAPS after a subsequent chemotherapy treatment. Overall incidence of TAPS was 33/75 (44%). While associated with detrimental scores on FACT-T and BPI as well as increased use of analgesics in 63% (21/33) of patients with TAPS, TAPS did not lead to alterations in chemotherapy dosing.


TAPS is common after taxane-based chemotherapy, and its presence is associated with reduced quality of life and increased analgesic requirements. Prospective patient-reported outcome assessments are crucial to help individualize treatment strategies and improve management of TAPS.


Taxane acute pain syndrome Taxane Quality of life Breast cancer Prostate cancer 



There was no external funding for this study. We would like to thank the patients, their families, physicians, clinical research associates, and coordinators for participating in this study. Physician accrual was the following: Dr. Clemons (37), Dr. Hilton (7), Dr. Canil (5), Dr. Ong (4), Dr. Joy (4), Dr. Gertler (3), Dr. Verma (3), Dr Au (3), and Dr Zhu (3).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Fernandes
    • 1
  • S. Mazzarello
    • 2
  • A. A. Joy
    • 3
  • G. R. Pond
    • 4
  • J. Hilton
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. F. K. Ibrahim
    • 1
  • C. Canil
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Ong
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Stober
    • 1
  • L. Vandermeer
    • 2
  • B. Hutton
    • 2
    • 5
  • M. da Costa
    • 1
  • S. Damaraju
    • 6
  • Mark Clemons
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Medical OncologyThe Ottawa Hospital and University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of Oncology, Division of Medical Oncology, Cross Cancer InstituteUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.McMaster University and Ontario Clinical Oncology GroupHamiltonCanada
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology and Community MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  6. 6.Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  7. 7.The Ottawa Hospital Cancer CentreOttawaCanada

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