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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Toxic Deaths

Breast Cancer

TAXOTERE administered at 100 mg/m² was associated with deaths considered possibly or probably related to treatment in 2.0% (19/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients, both previously treated and untreated, with normal baseline liver function and in 11.5% (7/61) of patients with various tumor types who had abnormal baseline liver function (AST and/or ALT > 1.5 times ULN together with AP > 2.5 times ULN). Among patients dosed at 60 mg/m² , mortality related to treatment occurred in 0.6% (3/481) of patients with normal liver function, and in 3 of 7 patients with abnormal liver function. Approximately half of these deaths occurred during the first cycle. Sepsis accounted for the majority of the deaths.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

TAXOTERE administered at a dose of 100 mg/m² in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who had a history of prior platinum-based chemotherapy was associated with increased treatment-related mortality (14% and 5% in two randomized, controlled studies). There were 2.8% treatment-related deaths among the 176 patients treated at the 75 mg/m² dose in the randomized trials. Among patients who experienced treatment-related mortality at the 75 mg/m² dose level, 3 of 5 patients had an ECOG PS of 2 at study entry [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Clinical Studies].

Hepatic Impairment

Patients with combined abnormalities of transaminases and alkaline phosphatase should not be treated with TAXOTERE [see BOXED WARNING, Use In Specific Populations, Clinical studies].

Hematologic Effects

Perform frequent peripheral blood cell counts on all patients receiving TAXOTERE. Patients should not be retreated with subsequent cycles of TAXOTERE until neutrophils recover to a level > 1500 cells/mm³ and platelets recover to a level > 100,000 cells/mm³ .

A 25% reduction in the dose of TAXOTERE is recommended during subsequent cycles following severe neutropenia ( < 500 cells/mm³) lasting 7 days or more, febrile neutropenia, or a grade 4 infection in a TAXOTERE cycle [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Neutropenia ( < 2000 neutrophils/mm³) occurs in virtually all patients given 60 mg/m² to 100 mg/m² of TAXOTERE and grade 4 neutropenia ( < 500 cells/mm³) occurs in 85% of patients given 100 mg/m² and 75% of patients given 60 mg/m². Frequent monitoring of blood counts is, therefore, essential so that dose can be adjusted. TAXOTERE should not be administered to patients with neutrophils < 1500 cells/mm³ .

Febrile neutropenia occurred in about 12% of patients given 100 mg/m² but was very uncommon in patients given 60 mg/m². Hematologic responses, febrile reactions and infections, and rates of septic death for different regimens are dose related [see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Clinical Studies].

Three breast cancer patients with severe liver impairment (bilirubin > 1.7 times ULN) developed fatal gastrointestinal bleeding associated with severe drug-induced thrombocytopenia. In gastric cancer patients treated with docetaxel in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil (TCF), febrile neutropenia and/or neutropenic infection occurred in 12% of patients receiving G-CSF compared to 28% who did not. Patients receiving TCF should be closely monitored during the first and subsequent cycles for febrile neutropenia and neutropenic infection [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Patients should be observed closely for hypersensitivity reactions, especially during the first and second infusions. Severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by generalized rash/erythema, hypotension and/or bronchospasm, or very rarely fatal anaphylaxis, have been reported in patients premedicated with 3 days of corticosteroids. Severe hypersensitivity reactions require immediate discontinuation of the TAXOTERE infusion and aggressive therapy. Patients with a history of severe hypersensitivity reactions should not be rechallenged with TAXOTERE.

Hypersensitivity reactions may occur within a few minutes following initiation of a TAXOTERE infusion. If minor reactions such as flushing or localized skin reactions occur, interruption of therapy is not required. All patients should be premedicated with an oral corticosteroid prior to the initiation of the infusion of TAXOTERE [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Fluid Retention

Severe fluid retention has been reported following TAXOTERE therapy. Patients should be premedicated with oral corticosteroids prior to each TAXOTERE administration to reduce the incidence and severity of fluid retention [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Patients with pre-existing effusions should be closely monitored from the first dose for the possible exacerbation of the effusions.

When fluid retention occurs, peripheral edema usually starts in the lower extremities and may become generalized with a median weight gain of 2 kg.

Among 92 breast cancer patients premedicated with 3-day corticosteroids, moderate fluid retention occurred in 27.2% and severe fluid retention in 6.5%. The median cumulative dose to onset of moderate or severe fluid retention was 819 mg/m². Nine of 92 patients (9.8%) of patients discontinued treatment due to fluid retention: 4 patients discontinued with severe fluid retention; the remaining 5 had mild or moderate fluid retention. The median cumulative dose to treatment discontinuation due to fluid retention was 1021 mg/m². Fluid retention was completely, but sometimes slowly, reversible with a median of 16 weeks from the last infusion of TAXOTERE to resolution (range: 0 to 42+ weeks). Patients developing peripheral edema may be treated with standard measures, e.g., salt restriction, oral diuretic(s).

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Treatment-related acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplasia has occurred in patients given anthracyclines and/or cyclophosphamide, including use in adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. In the adjuvant breast cancer trial (TAX316) AML occurred in 3 of 744 patients who received TAXOTERE, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (TAC) and in 1 of 736 patients who received fluorouracil, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide [see Clinical Studies]. In TAC-treated patients, the risk of delayed myelodysplasia or myeloid leukemia requires hematological follow-up.

Cutaneous Reactions

Localized erythema of the extremities with edema followed by desquamation has been observed. In case of severe skin toxicity, an adjustment in dosage is recommended [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. The discontinuation rate due to skin toxicity was 1.6% (15/965) for metastatic breast cancer patients. Among 92 breast cancer patients premedicated with 3-day corticosteroids, there were no cases of severe skin toxicity reported and no patient discontinued TAXOTERE due to skin toxicity.

Neurologic Reactions

Severe neurosensory symptoms (e.g. paresthesia, dysesthesia, pain) were observed in 5.5% (53/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients, and resulted in treatment discontinuation in 6.1%. When these symptoms occur, dosage must be adjusted. If symptoms persist, treatment should be discontinued [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Patients who experienced neurotoxicity in clinical trials and for whom follow-up information on the complete resolution of the event was available had spontaneous reversal of symptoms with a median of 9 weeks from onset (range: 0 to 106 weeks). Severe peripheral motor neuropathy mainly manifested as distal extremity weakness occurred in 4.4% (42/965).

Eye Disorders

Cystoid macular edema (CME) has been reported in patients treated with TAXOTERE. Patients with impaired vision should undergo a prompt and comprehensive ophthalmologic examination. If CME is diagnosed, TAXOTERE treatment should be discontinued and appropriate treatment initiated. Alternative non-taxane cancer treatment should be considered.


Severe asthenia has been reported in 14.9% (144/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients but has led to treatment discontinuation in only 1.8%. Symptoms of fatigue and weakness may last a few days up to several weeks and may be associated with deterioration of performance status in patients with progressive disease.

Use In Pregnancy

TAXOTERE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Docetaxel caused embryofetal toxicities including intrauterine mortality when administered to pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis. Embryofetal effects in animals occurred at doses as low as 1/50 and 1/300 the recommended human dose on a body surface area basis.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women using TAXOTERE. If TAXOTERE is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant during therapy with TAXOTERE [see Use in Specific Populations].

Patient Counseling Information

See FDA-Approved Patient Labeling

  • TAXOTERE may cause fetal harm. Advise patients to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving this drug. Women of childbearing potential should use effective contraceptives if receiving TAXOTERE [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
  • Obtain detailed allergy and concomitant drug information from the patient prior to TAXOTERE administration.
  • Explain the significance of oral corticosteroids such as dexamethasone administration to the patient to help facilitate compliance. Instruct patients to report if they were not compliant with oral corticosteroid regimen.
  • Instruct patients to immediately report signs of a hypersensitivity reaction.
  • Tell patients to watch for signs of fluid retention such as peripheral edema in the lower extremities, weight gain and dyspnea.
  • Explain the significance of routine blood cell counts. Instruct patients to monitor their temperature frequently and immediately report any occurrence of fever.
  • Instruct patients to report myalgia, cutaneous, or neurologic reactions.
  • Explain to patients that side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, excessive tearing, infusion site reactions, and hair loss are associated with docetaxel administration.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Carcinogenicity studies with docetaxel have not been performed.

Docetaxel was clastogenic in the in vitro chromosome aberration test in CHO-K1 cells and in the in vivo micronucleus test in mice administered doses of 0.39 to 1.56 mg/kg (about 1/60th to 1/15th the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis). Docetaxel was not mutagenic in the Ames test or the CHO/HGPRT gene mutation assays.

Docetaxel did not reduce fertility in rats when administered in multiple intravenous doses of up to 0.3 mg/kg (about 1/50th the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis), but decreased testicular weights were reported. This correlates with findings of a 10-cycle toxicity study (dosing once every 21 days for 6 months) in rats and dogs in which testicular atrophy or degeneration was observed at intravenous doses of 5 mg/kg in rats and 0.375 mg/kg in dogs (about 1/3rd and 1/15th the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis, respectively). An increased frequency of dosing in rats produced similar effects at lower dose levels.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category D [see 'WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS' section ]

Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, TAXOTERE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If TAXOTERE is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant during therapy with TAXOTERE.

TAXOTERE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Studies in both rats and rabbits at doses ≥ 0.3 and 0.03 mg/kg/day, respectively (about 1/50 and 1/300 the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis), administered during the period of organogenesis, have shown that TAXOTERE is embryotoxic and fetotoxic (characterized by intrauterine mortality, increased resorption, reduced fetal weight, and fetal ossification delay). The doses indicated above also caused maternal toxicity.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether docetaxel is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from TAXOTERE, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

The efficacy of TAXOTERE in pediatric patients as monotherapy or in combination has not been established. The overall safety profile of TAXOTERE in pediatric patients receiving monotherapy or TCF was consistent with the known safety profile in adults.

TAXOTERE has been studied in a total of 289 pediatric patients: 239 in 2 trials with monotherapy and 50 in combination treatment with cisplatin and 5-fluoruracil (TCF).

TAXOTERE Monotherapy

TAXOTERE monotherapy was evaluated in a dose-finding phase 1 trial in 61 pediatric patients (median age 12.5 years, range 1-22 years) with a variety of refractory solid tumors. The recommended dose was 125 mg/m² as a 1-hour intravenous infusion every 21 days. The primary dose limiting toxicity was neutropenia.

The recommended dose for TAXOTERE monotherapy was evaluated in a phase 2 single-arm trial in 178 pediatric patients (median age 12 years, range 1-26 years) with a variety of recurrent/refractory solid tumors. Efficacy was not established with tumor response rates ranging from one complete response (CR) (0.6%) in a patient with undifferentiated sarcoma to four partial responses (2.2%) seen in one patient each with Ewing Sarcoma, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

TAXOTERE in Combination

TAXOTERE was studied in combination with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (TCF) versus cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (CF) for the induction treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in pediatric patients prior to chemoradiation consolidation. Seventy-five patients (median age 16 years, range 9 to 21 years) were randomized (2:1) to TAXOTERE (75 mg/m²) in combination with cisplatin (75 mg/m²) and 5-fluorouracil (750 mg/m²) (TCF) or to cisplatin (80 mg/m²) and 5-fluorouracil (1000 mg/m²/day) (CF). The primary endpoint was the CR rate following induction treatment of NPC. One patient out of 50 in the TCF group (2%) had a complete response while none of the 25 patients in the CF group had a complete response.


Pharmacokinetic parameters for docetaxel were determined in 2 pediatric solid tumor trials. Following docetaxel administration at 55 mg/m² to 235 mg/m² in a 1-hour intravenous infusion every 3 weeks in 25 patients aged 1 to 20 years (median 11 years), docetaxel clearance was 17.3±10.9 L/h/m² .

Docetaxel was administered in combination with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (TCF), at dose levels of 75 mg/m² in a 1-hour intravenous infusion day 1 in 28 patients aged 10 to 21 years (median 16 years, 17 patients were older than 16). Docetaxel clearance was 17.9±8.75 L/h/m² , corresponding to an AUC of 4.20±2.57 μg.h/mL.

In summary, the body surface area adjusted clearance of docetaxel monotherapy and TCF combination in children were comparable to those in adults [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Geriatric Use

In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy in elderly patients.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

In a study conducted in chemotherapy-na´ve patients with NSCLC (TAX326), 148 patients (36%) in the TAXOTERE+cisplatin group were 65 years of age or greater. There were 128 patients (32%) in the vinorelbine+cisplatin group 65 years of age or greater. In the TAXOTERE+cisplatin group, patients less than 65 years of age had a median survival of 10.3 months (95% CI: 9.1 months, 11.8 months) and patients 65 years or older had a median survival of 12.1 months (95% CI: 9.3 months, 14 months). In patients 65 years of age or greater treated with TAXOTERE+cisplatin, diarrhea (55%), peripheral edema (39%) and stomatitis (28%) were observed more frequently than in the vinorelbine+cisplatin group (diarrhea 24%, peripheral edema 20%, stomatitis 20%). Patients treated with TAXOTERE+cisplatin who were 65 years of age or greater were more likely to experience diarrhea (55%), infections (42%), peripheral edema (39%) and stomatitis (28%) compared to patients less than the age of 65 administered the same treatment (43%, 31%, 31% and 21%, respectively).

When TAXOTERE was combined with carboplatin for the treatment of chemotherapy-na´ve, advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma, patients 65 years of age or greater (28%) experienced higher frequency of infection compared to similar patients treated with TAXOTERE+cisplatin, and a higher frequency of diarrhea, infection and peripheral edema than elderly patients treated with vinorelbine+cisplatin.

Prostate Cancer

Of the 333 patients treated with TAXOTERE every three weeks plus prednisone in the prostate cancer study (TAX327), 209 patients were 65 years of age or greater and 68 patients were older than 75 years. In patients treated with TAXOTERE every three weeks, the following treatment emergent adverse reactions occurred at rates ≥ 10% higher in patients 65 years of age or greater compared to younger patients: anemia (71% vs. 59%), infection (37% vs. 24%), nail changes (34% vs. 23%), anorexia (21% vs. 10%), weight loss (15% vs. 5%) respectively.

Breast Cancer

In the adjuvant breast cancer trial (TAX316), TAXOTERE in combination with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide was administered to 744 patients of whom 48 (6%) were 65 years of age or greater. The number of elderly patients who received this regimen was not sufficient to determine whether there were differences in safety and efficacy between elderly and younger patients.

Gastric Cancer

Among the 221 patients treated with TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil in the gastric cancer study, 54 were 65 years of age or older and 2 patients were older than 75 years. In this study, the number of patients who were 65 years of age or older was insufficient to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. However, the incidence of serious adverse reactions was higher in the elderly patients compared to younger patients. The incidence of the following adverse reactions (all grades, regardless of relationship): lethargy, stomatitis, diarrhea, dizziness, edema, febrile neutropenia/neutropenic infection occurred at rates ≥ 10% higher in patients who were 65 years of age or older compared to younger patients. Elderly patients treated with TCF should be closely monitored.

Head and Neck Cancer

Among the 174 and 251 patients who received the induction treatment with TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil (TPF) for SCCHN in the TAX323 and TAX324 studies, 18 (10%) and 32 (13%) of the patients were 65 years of age or older, respectively.

These clinical studies of TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil in patients with SCCHN did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. Other reported clinical experience with this treatment regimen has not identified differences in responses between elderly and younger patients.

Hepatic Impairment

Patients with bilirubin > ULN should not receive TAXOTERE. Also, patients with AST and/or ALT > 1.5 x ULN concomitant with alkaline phosphatase > 2.5 x ULN should not receive TAXOTERE [see BOXED WARNING, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/24/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.


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