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Taxotere and cyclophosphamide (TC)

Find out what the chemotherapy drug combination TC is, how you have it and other important information about having TC. 

TC is the name of a combination of chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer. It is made up of the drugs: 

  • docetaxel (also called Taxotere)
  • cyclophosphamide

How it works

These chemotherapy drugs destroy quickly dividing cells, such as cancer cells.

How you have it

You have taxotere and cyclophosphamide into your bloodstream (intravenously). 

Drugs into your bloodstream

You have the treatment through a drip into your arm or hand. A nurse puts a small tube (a cannula) into one of your veins and connects the drip to it.

You might need a central line. This is a long plastic tube that gives the drugs into a large vein, either in your chest or through a vein in your arm. It stays in while you’re having treatment, which may be for a few months.

When you have it

You usually have docetaxel (Taxotere) and cyclophosphamide as cycles of treatment. Each cycle of treatment lasts 3 weeks. You can have up to 6 cycles of treatment, taking about 4 months in total. 

You have each treatment cycle in the following way: 

Day 1
  • You have docetaxel as a drip into your bloodstream over an hour
  • You have cyclophosphamide as a drip into your bloodstream over 30 to 60 minutes
Day 2 to 21
  • You have no treatment

Then your next treatment cycle starts. 

Tests

You have blood tests before and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Side effects

Important information

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

You should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice for 48 hours before, and on the day you have cyclophosphamide. 

Pregnancy and contraception

This drug may harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant while you are having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Fertility

You may not be able to become pregnant after treatment with this drug. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future. It’s sometimes possible to store eggs or embryos before treatment.

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drugs may come through in your breast milk.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Immunisations

Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for up to 12 months afterwards. The length of time depends on the treatment you are having. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should avoid live vaccinations.

In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and the shingles vaccine (Zostavax).

You can:

  • have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
  • have the flu vaccine (as an injection)
  • be in contact with other people who have had live vaccines as injections

Avoid close contact with people who have recently had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines) such as oral polio or the typhoid vaccine.

This also includes the rotavirus vaccine given to babies. The virus is in the baby’s poo for up to 2 weeks and could make you ill. So avoid changing their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination if possible. Or wear disposable gloves and wash your hands well afterwards.

You should also avoid close contact with children who have had the flu vaccine nasal spray if your immune system is severely weakened. 

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Last reviewed: 
22 Nov 2017
  • Electronic Medicines Compendium 
    Accessed November 2017

  • Immunisation against infectious disease: Chapter 6: General contraindications to vaccination
    Public Health England
    First published: March 2013 and regularly updated on the Gov.UK website

  • Handbook of Cancer Chemotherapy (8th edition)
    Roland K Keel
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2012

  • Breast Pathway Group - TC (Docetaxel / Cyclophosphamide) in Early Breast Cancer

    London Cancer Alliance (LCA) West and South

    Accessed November 2017

     

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