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Pancreas. 2003 Oct;27(3):214-9.

Docetaxel and radiotherapy and pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Marseille, France.



We conducted a phase 1 trial to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of weekly docetaxel delivered concurrently with radiation therapy for the treatment of locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.


Thirteen patients with histologically proven locally non-resectable advanced adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were enrolled in this study. Patients received 4 weekly doses of docetaxel by 1-hour intravenous (IV) infusion with 40 Gy of external beam radiation therapy during 4 weeks. Patients who were stabilized or in response, received 2 additional cycles of docetaxel with a 10 Gy boost of radiotherapy. Doses were escalated at 10 mg/m2 increments in successive cohorts of 3 new patients until MTD was observed.


Four patients received docetaxel at 20 mg/m2/week, 3 at 25 mg/m2/week, 3 at 30 mg/m2/week, and 3 at 35 mg/m2/week. All patients, except 2, were given the treatment in its integrity. The most common toxicities were nausea, vomiting, asthenia, and abdominal pains. Except for 1 patient, all toxicity was reversible and did not exceed grade 3. Hematologic toxicity was mild and has not required treatment interruption. 28% of the patients had to be rehospitalized. A total of 73 cycles was administered with a mean of 4 cycles per patient (2-6).


Even the MTD was not reached, dose escalation was stopped at 35 mg/m2/week. This dose is comparable to the ones previously published using docetaxel in combination with radiotherapy in other tumors. Three patients achieved stable disease and 1 patient an objective response. This combination of weekly docetaxel and radiotherapy shows a feasible and well-tolerated regimen, with, nonetheless, a significant rate of rehospitalization, for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

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