Background: Docetaxel (Taxotere) is prepared from a noncytotoxic precursor extracted from the needles of the Taxus baccata. Preclinical investigations have demonstrated that docetaxel is very active in colon adenocarcinoma murine models. Phase I studies revealed granulocytopenia to be the dose-limiting toxicity. Initial clinical trials also demonstrated docetaxel's activity in ovarian, breast, and non-small cell lung cancer. Because of this encouraging preclinical and clinical activity, we initiated a phase II study of docetaxel in patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma.
Patients and methods: Docetaxel, 100 mg/m2, was administered as a 1-hour intravenous infusion every 21 days. Nineteen patients were entered on the trial. All patients had measurable disease and had not received prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease.
Results: No complete or partial responses were observed. Granulocytopenia was the dose-limiting toxic effect. Seventeen patients had grade 4 granulocytopenia; 8 of these patients received antibiotics for neutropenic fevers. Twelve patients experienced hypersensitivity reactions, and 15 patients experienced cutaneous toxic reactions. One patient demonstrated evidence of fluid retention.
Conclusions: Administered at the stated dose and schedule, docetaxel has little activity against metastatic colorectal carcinomas. The toxicity profile, consisting of granulocytopenia, hypersensitivity reactions, cutaneous reactions, and edema, has been previously described in patients receiving docetaxel.