Concurrent radiation therapy and paclitaxel or docetaxel chemotherapy in high-risk breast cancer

Jennifer R. Bellon, Karen L. Lindsley, Georgiana K. Ellis, Julie R. Gralow, Robert B. Livingston, Mary M. Austin Seymour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Purpose: Evidence supports the inclusion of the taxanes in the treatment of breast cancer. A recent randomized trial has shown a survival advantage to the addition of paclitaxel in the adjuvant treatment of node-positive patients. Several studies have suggested diminished local control if adjuvant radiation is delayed, while in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated a benefit of concurrent administration of taxanes with radiation. For these reasons, we began in 1995 to administer radiation therapy concurrently with the taxanes in advanced breast cancer. This retrospective review examines the feasibility of such treatment. Methods and Materials: Forty-four patients were treated with concurrent radiation and either paclitaxel (29 patients) or docetaxel (15 patients). One patient received both paclitaxel and docetaxel. Eighteen patients were treated for recurrent disease, 9 had received prior radiation. Toxicity was assessed by the RTOG scale for acute and late effects. Results: Concurrent radiation and taxane chemotherapy was well tolerated. Nine patients (20%) experienced Grade 3 acute skin toxicity. This was more likely with docetaxel than paclitaxel (p = 0.04). Among patients undergoing breast conservation, there were no Grade 3 toxicities. With a median follow-up of 11 months, 1 patient has developed breast fibrosis. Conclusion: Concurrent administration of both paclitaxel and docetaxel with radiation resulted in acceptable toxicity. Overall, the acute skin toxicity seen with docetaxel was more pronounced. However, among patients undergoing breast conservation the taxanes were both well tolerated. Further study is necessary to assess the impact of concurrent treatment on long-term outcome. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast
  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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