Treatment Name: Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Taxotere®)
Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Taxotere®) is a Chemotherapy Regimen for Ovarian Cancer
How does carboplatin + docetaxel (Taxotere®) work?
Each of the medications in carboplatin + docetaxel are designed to kill or slow the growth of ovarian cancer cells.
What are the goals of carboplatin + docetaxel therapy?
Carboplatin + docetaxel is given to shrink ovary tumors and alleviate symptoms caused by ovarian cancer. If the disease is not metastatic, treatment is commonly given with the goal of cure. If the disease is metastatic, treatment is not commonly given with the goal of cure.
How is carboplatin + docetaxel for ovarian cancer given?
Every 21-Day Regimen Schedule
- Carboplatin intravenous (I.V.) infusion over 30 minutes on Day 1
- Docetaxel I.V. infusion over 60 minutes on Day 1
- Dexamethasone 8 mg (two 4 mg tablets) by mouth twice daily the day before, the day of, and the day after docetaxel
Every 28-Day Regimen Schedule (lower weekly doses)
- Carboplatin I.V. infusion over 30 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15
- Docetaxel I.V. infusion over 60 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15
- Dexamethasone 4 mg by mouth the night before, the morning of, and night of docetaxel infusion
Estimated total infusion time for this treatment:
- Up to two hours for Day 1 of each Schedule type (21-day or 28-day). Up to two hours for Days 8 and 15 (if applicable)
- Infusion times are based on clinical studies, but may vary depending on doctor preference or patient tolerability. Pre-medications and intravenous (I.V.) fluids, such as hydration, may add more time
Carboplatin + docetaxel is usually given in an outpatient infusion center, allowing the person to go home afterwards. On occasion, it may be given in the hospital if someone is too sick.
Carboplatin + docetaxel is repeated every 21 or 28 days. This is known as one Cycle. If the disease is not metastatic, each cycle may be repeated up to 6 times, depending upon the stage of the disease. If the disease is metastatic, each cycle of carbo/docetaxel may be repeated until the regimen no longer works or until unacceptable side effects occur. Duration of therapy depends upon response, tolerability, and number of cycles prescribed.
Click here for the common carboplatin + docetaxel (Taxotere) starting doses.
What are the most common side effects from carboplatin + docetaxel for ovarian cancer?
In a multi-drug regimen, each medication has unique side effects. When these medicines are given together, drug-related side effects reported in clinical studies give the best estimate of what to expect. In clinical studies, the most commonly reported carboplatin + docetaxel side effects are shown here. Side effects sometimes have percentage ranges [example 64 – 88%] because they differed between clinical studies:
A note about side effect percentages
On average, between 8 - 31% of patients discontinue treatment due to unacceptable side effects. The most common side effect causing early discontinuation of therapy is an intolerable infusion reaction to carboplatin.
Note: Because clinical studies with carboplatin + docetaxel were conducted prior to the availability of many newer anti-nausea medications that we have today, the percentage of patients who reported nausea and vomiting in this study may be higher than seen now.
*Hair loss from carboplatin + docetaxel is often noticeable. A wig or hair piece may be desired to camouflage the absence of hair until it grows back.
**An infusion reaction may consist of the following: redness, fast heart beat, low blood pressure, shortness of breath or wheezing, anxiety or feeling warm. If the symptoms go away after stopping the infusion and the receipt of medications such as antihistamines and corticosteroids, your doctor may recommend restarting the infusion at a slower rate. Docetaxel infusion reactions may occur with any dose. Carboplatin infusion reactions, on average, occurred with the 8th dose or later.
Watch videos on common carboplatin + docetaxel side effects below
How often is carboplatin + docetaxel monitoring for ovarian cancer needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked before each treatment or at your doctor’s discretion. Labs often include: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), CA-125 (a tumor marker for ovarian cancer), plus any others your doctor may order.
How often is imaging needed?
Imaging may be checked before treatment and periodically during treatment. Imaging may include: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scans, or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
How might blood test results/imaging affect carboplatin + docetaxel treatment for ovarian cancer?
Depending upon the results, your doctor may advise to continue carboplatin + docetaxel as planned, delay treatment for low blood counts or side effects, decrease doses for low blood counts, or switch to an alternative therapy.
What are the most important things to know about carboplatin + docetaxel while receiving ovarian cancer therapy?
- Carboplatin hypersensitivity reaction can be severe. This reaction is most common around the 8th or 9th cycle, but can happen after any dose. Some institutions may use "desensitization protocols" to allow a person to keep receiving carboplatin after they have had a reaction. Desensitization is used if someone is receiving a good response from carboplatin, or if few other chemotherapy options are available
- Patients and their caregivers should be counseled to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug reactions and report them immediately, even after they have left the clinic
- Remember to take dexamethasone to help prevent excess fluid from staying in your body as a result of docetaxel treatment. If you forget, be sure to alert the doctor, pharmacist, or nurse at the infusion center. An intravenous dose of dexamethasone may be given if you forget any doses at home
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for ovarian cancer. Ask your doctor if any studies are currently enrolling in your area. If not, go to clinicaltrials.gov to search for other centers offering study medications
Patient Assistance & Co-payment Coverage
Patients under the age of 65 years, or those with private insurance plans:
If you have insurance and are looking for patient assistance or copay assistance for Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Taxotere®), we have provided links that may help.
Visit our Patient Assistance page and click the links to various patient assistance programs for help paying for Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Taxotere®). Depending upon your income, they may be able to help cover the cost of:
For Branded medications (may be available for generic medications too), check with the manufacturer to determine if a co-pay card is offered and if it could reduce your monthly copay.
- If you are uninsured, check with the manufacturer to determine if you are eligible to receive medication at no cost.
Medicare and Medicaid patients (Patients 65 years or older):
The clinic providing treatment will likely pre-authorize medications and immune therapies such as Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Taxotere®) and are the best source to help you understand drug cost.
- Ask to speak with a patient assistance technician or financial counselor at the clinic or hospital administering this therapy.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is having a positive outlook balanced with a realistic understanding of current life events. This requires both an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is with this knowledge that you can develop a plan to take the necessary actions to positively impact your life.
Emotional wellness uses an ongoing process to continually reflect on the stressors of life in a constructive manner to move forward and create happiness.
Because emotional wellness is deeply connected with physical, social, and spiritual wellness, pursuing it often becomes particularly difficult in times of major illness. Despite this difficulty, working toward emotional wellness has been connected to improved treatment outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving goals of therapy.
Learn more about pursuing emotional wellness while receiving treatment with Carboplatin + Docetaxel (Taxotere®)
What is Ovarian Cancer?
What is Ovarian Cancer?
A disease of the cells found in the ovaries in women. Ovarian cancer is not common, but is the fifth leading cause of cancer related death in women. The exact cause is not known, however risk factors include: older age, obesity, first period at an early age, late menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause, family history, and genetic causes such as the BRCA (pronounced "bracka") mutation. The use of oral contraceptives or having one or more full-term pregnancies can decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
The stage of ovarian cancer can vary at diagnosis and throughout treatment. Ovarian cancer is staged using the Tumor, Node, Metastasis (TNM) staging system, as well as Stage Grouping I, II, III, or IV. Staging systems describe the extent of cancer throughout the body and help doctors determine which treatments to offer. The effectiveness of the treatment may depend upon the stage at diagnosis.
NOTE: Treatment Options listed below are not all-inclusive. Other treatments may be available. ChemoExperts provides drug information and does not recommend any one treatment over another. Only your Doctor can choose which therapy is appropriate for you.
What does "Cure" mean?
The word “cure” means there are no cancer cells left in the body and cancer will never come back. Depending on the cancer type and stage, this may be the true goal of therapy. However, it is very difficult to prove all cancer cells are gone. Even though images, like X-rays and MRI’s, and blood tests may not show any signs of cancer, there can be a small amount of cancer cells still left in the body. Because of this, doctors use the word “remission” is used more often. This means there are no signs or symptoms of cancer. Patients in remission are followed closely for any signs of cancer returning. Sometimes, more chemotherapy may be given while in remission to prevent the cancer from coming back.
Doctors usually do not consider a patient “cured” until the chance of cancer returning is extremely low. If cancer does return, it usually happens within 5 years of having a remission. Because of this, doctors do not consider a patient cured unless the cancer has not come back within 5 years of remission. The five-year cutoff does not apply to all cancers.
Common carboplatin + docetaxel (Taxotere) starting doses
Every 21-Day Regimen Schedule
- Carboplatin AUC 5 - 6 intravenous (I.V.) infusion over 30 minutes on Day 1
- Docetaxel 60 - 75 mg/m2 I.V. infusion over 60 minutes on Day 1
- Dexamethasone 8 mg (two 4 mg tablets) by mouth twice daily the day before, 8mg twice the day of, and 8mg twice the day after docetaxel
Every 28-Day Regimen Schedule (lower weekly doses)
- Carboplatin "AUC 2" I.V. infusion over 30 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15
- Docetaxel 35 mg/m2 (Max BSA = 2) I.V. infusion over 60 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15
- Dexamethasone 4 mg by mouth the night before, 4 mg the morning of docetaxel, then 4 mg later that evening
Note: Individual doses may vary based upon your Doctor's recommendation, or drug availability
If you are interested in reading the clinical trials results, please click on references below:
1) Markman M, Kennedy A, Webster K, et al. Combination chemotherapy with carboplatin and docetaxel in the treatment of cancers of the ovary and fallopian tube and primary carcinoma of the peritoneum. J Clin Oncol. 2001;19:1901-1905.
2) Strauss HG, Henze A, Teichmann A, et al. Phase II trial of docetaxel and carboplatin in recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian, peritoneal and tubal cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2007;104(3):612-616.
3) Kushner DM, Connor JP, Sanchez F, et al. Weekly docetaxel and carboplatin for recurrent ovarian and peritoneal cancer: a phase II trial. Gynecol Oncol. 2007;105:358-364.
What is a CBC?
A Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a frequently ordered blood test that tells clinicians the status of your: 1) White blood cell count, 2) Hemoglobin, and 3) Platelet count at the time the test was taken.
1) White blood cell count (WBC): is used to determine infection risk, or response to chemotherapy. Certain chemotherapy agents may harm our good infection-fighting cells. Sometimes chemotherapy may need to be delayed to allow these cells to recover.
2) Hemoglobin: is used to determine if someone is anemic. Anytime the hemoglobin is below 12 g/dL, the person is said to be anemic. Red blood cell transfusions, and sometimes iron can be given to restore the hemoglobin level, but anemia treatment should always aim at treating the underlying cause or condition.
3) Platelet count: is used to determine if the risk of bleeding is increased or if a platelet transfusion is required to prevent bleeding. Certain medications that increase bleeding risk, such as: aspirin, certain chemotherapy agents, and blood thinners, may need to be stopped temporarily until the platelet count is within a safe range.
What is a CMP?
A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is a frequently ordered blood test that tells clinicians the status of your: 1) Electrolytes & Acid/Base status, 2) Kidney function, 3) Liver function, 4) Blood sugar, and 5) Calcium at the time the test was taken. It is commonly used to monitor liver and kidney function when beginning new medications such as chemotherapy. A total of 14 tests are run simultaneously and are shown below.
Electrolytes & Acid/Base status:
1) Sodium, 2) Potassium, 3) Carbon dioxide, 4) Chloride
5) BUN (blood urea nitrogen), 6) Serum creatinine (Scr)
7) AST, 8) ALT, 9) Total bilirubin, 10) Alk Phos, 11) Albumin, 12) Total protein
13) Serum glucose
14) Serum calcium
What is dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammation drug that helps calm your body's reactions to many chemotherapy treatments
What does metastatic mean?Metastatic disease is when cancer cells have spread from their primary (original) location to other parts of the body and started more tumor(s).
A note about side effect percentagesThe number you see next to the percent sign (%) means how many people out of 100 are likely to experience this side effect.
For example, if the side effect is reported to occur in 8% of patients, this means that roughly 8 out of 100 people receiving this treatment will experience this side effect.