Practical aspects of weekly docetaxel administration schedules

Oncologist. 2004;9(5):538-45. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.9-5-538.


Docetaxel (Taxotere; Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Bridgewater, NJ) is a highly effective chemotherapeutic agent with proven efficacy in a number of solid tumors. However, myelosuppression can be a substantial concern when docetaxel is administered every 3 weeks. Myelosuppression can be particularly problematic in older patients and those being treated with palliative intent. Weekly dosing of docetaxel has been investigated in an effort to reduce toxicity and has been identified as a safe and effective regimen in clinical trials. Weekly docetaxel is generally administered at doses ranging from 30-40 mg/m(2)/week for 6 of 8 weeks or for 3 of 4 weeks. With weekly dosing, though efficacy is comparable, myelosuppression is substantially less, and the overall tolerability profile is better than with every-3-week dosing. Fatigue is a common toxicity associated with weekly docetaxel; other adverse effects that are seen in a minority of patients include hyperlacrimation, nail toxicity, and alopecia. These side effects are dose related and can generally be managed through dose reductions or alterations in the weekly schedule. Because of the favorable tolerability profile, weekly docetaxel is under investigation in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents and with novel targeted agents in a variety of tumor types. The results of these ongoing studies will further define the place of weekly docetaxel in cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Fatigue / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced*
  • Neutropenia / prevention & control
  • Palliative Care
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage*
  • Taxoids / adverse effects*
  • Taxoids / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel