Yew clippings to make chemotherapy

There are two chemotherapy drugs that were originally developed from yew trees:

  • docetaxel (Taxotere) was first made from the needles of the European yew tree
  • paclitaxel (Taxol) was made from the bark of the Pacific yew tree

Some UK firms used to collect yew tree clippings as part of the process of making the drugs. But they are no longer doing this. Both drugs can now be made synthetically in the laboratory.  

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th edition)
    VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Wolters Kluwer, 2019

Last reviewed: 
24 Jun 2020
Next review due: 
24 Jun 2023

Related links