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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2009 Feb;13(1):49-59. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2008.10.003. Epub 2009 Feb 7.

Docetaxel-related side effects and their management.

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  • 1University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, Faculty Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Docetaxel is an effective treatment approved in five key cancers, but its effectiveness in clinical practice can be compromised by sub-optimal side-effect management. The aim of this review was to investigate the extent of the published work on specific docetaxel-related side effects and to provide, where possible, evidence-based recommendations for their prevention and management. PubMed and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) databases were systematically searched for articles published in English over the past 5 years and 2 years, respectively, and pertaining to six side effects identified as being common to the majority of docetaxel regimens and indications and of particular relevance to the oncology nurse. The Cochrane library was also searched. A total of 103 citations were identified, 14 of which discussed strategies for the prevention or management of febrile neutropenia (n=6), hypersensitivity reactions (3), fluid retention (1) and nail changes (4). No articles were identified that related to asthenia or neuropathy. Based on the literature review, evidence/guidelines-based advice for the use of G-CSF in febrile neutropenia is provided. The evidence base with respect to the other side effects does not permit the formulation of recommendations. It is the experience of the authors, however, that the severity of symptoms experienced by patients is generally mild and the side effects are for the most part easily managed with prophylactic and supportive care measures. It is, therefore, important to share and build on experiences, through research and discussion, to maximise the healthcare professional's ability to offer the best standard of care to patients.

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