Docetaxel is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used alone or with other drugs to treat certain types of breast and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is also approved to be used with other drugs to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and certain types of gastric and prostate cancer.
Docetaxel is a semi-synthetic, second-generation taxane derived from a compound found in the European yew tree Taxus baccata. Docetaxel displays potent and broad antineoplastic properties; it binds to and stabilizes tubulin, thereby inhibiting microtubule disassembly which results in cell- cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and cell death. This agent also inhibits pro-angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and displays immunomodulatory and pro-inflammatory properties by inducing various mediators of the inflammatory response. Docetaxel has been studied for use as a radiation-sensitizing agent.