Radiotherapy with concurrent docetaxel for advanced and recurrent breast cancer

Breast Cancer. 2003;10(3):268-74. doi: 10.1007/BF02966728.


Background: Docetaxel has shown remarkable radiosensitizing properties in vitro. In this study we investigated whether the addition of docetaxel to radiotherapy enhanced tumor response in patients with advanced or recurrent breast cancer.

Methods: A total of 35 patients were enrolled in this study. Docetaxel was administered concurrently during radiotherapy. Radiation doses were 54 to 69 Gy (median 60 Gy). In those enrolled through January 2000, docetaxel 40 mg/m2 was administered biweekly (once every two weeks), with subsequent dose adjustments based on tolerance and bone marrow and liver function. Beginning in February 2000, a weekly docetaxel schedule was used instead. This new regimen was based on data suggesting reduced myelosuppression with this regimen. The weekly dose rate was 20 mg/m2, with dose reductions for impaired organ function.

Results: All patients were evaluated for toxicity and response and a total of 40 irradiated sites were evaluated for local response. The overall response rate of irradiated sites was 95% and the CR rate was 68%. CR and PR were achieved in 40%, 37% of patients, respectively. Acute toxicities were tolerated by most patients: 17% had Grade 3-4 neutropenia, 6% had Grade 3-4 radiation dermatitis, and 3% had Grade 3-4 pneumonitis.

Conclusion: The combination of docetaxel with radiotherapy is an active and safe regimen in patients with inoperable advanced or recurrent breast cancer. We determined the recommended dose of docetaxel with concomitant radiotherapy to be 20 mg/m2 weekly for a Phase II study. Further study is necessary to assess the impact of this treatment on long-term outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy*
  • Palliative Care
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Radiography
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel