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Taxotere Approved for Head and Neck Cancer

Average survival extended by more than 4 months

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Taxotere (docetaxel) has received expanded approval to treat cancer of the head and neck, which accounts for about 3 percent of all cancer cases in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

In trials involving 358 people with the disease, people who took Taxotere in combination with two other chemotherapy drugs lived an average of 18.6 months, versus 14.2 months among people who took the other drugs without Taxotere, the FDA said.

The approval allows Taxotere's use for inoperable, locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in combination with the two other drugs, cisplatin and fluorouracil.

Side effects of the therapy included loss of white and red blood cells, hair loss, inflammation of the mouth and esophagus, and nausea.

First approved in 1996, Taxotere also is sanctioned to treat cancers of the breast, lung and prostate. The drug is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis.

More information

To learn more about head and neck cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

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