Docetaxel-associated epiphora

Pharmacotherapy. 2006 Jun;26(6):853-67. doi: 10.1592/phco.26.6.853.


Docetaxel is a semisynthetic taxane indicated for the treatment of advanced breast, prostate, and non-small cell lung cancers; it is also used for the treatment of various other solid tumors. The standard intermittent dosage of docetaxel is 60-100 mg/m2 every 3 weeks. At this dose and schedule, myelosuppression is common and neutropenia is usually the dose-limiting toxicity. Weekly administration of docetaxel 20-42 mg/m2 is being tested in the treatment of advanced solid tumors in order to improve patient tolerance by reducing the interval dose and to maintain therapeutic efficacy by increasing overall dose intensity. Asthenia and peripheral neuropathy can limit continued administration of weekly docetaxel. Epiphora (excess tearing due to narrowing or blockage of the lacrimal outflow passages) is associated with repeated weekly administration of docetaxel. This adverse effect can interfere with activities of daily life and negatively affect quality of life. Epiphora may be an underreported adverse effect of treatment because of underrecognition by clinicians and patient embarrassment with respect to seemingly uncontrolled tearing. The use of weekly docetaxel administration is expanding; therefore, patients should be educated to recognize and report signs and symptoms of epiphora. It is important for clinicians participating in the care of patients undergoing treatment with docetaxel to monitor for excess tearing and signs of eye irritation to ensure timely management of treatment-related epiphora.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects*
  • Docetaxel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / drug effects
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / pathology
  • Lacrimal Duct Obstruction / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Taxoids / adverse effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel