Medical Oncology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 57–61 | Cite as

Epiphora (Excessive tearing) and other ocular manifestations related to weekly docetaxel

Underestimated dose-limiting toxicity
  • Medy Tsalic
  • Michael Gilboa
  • Bela Visel
  • Benjamin Miller
  • Nissim Haim
Original Article



Epiphora due to canalicular stenosis is, a recently described side effect of weekly docetaxel. We prospectively evaluated the incidence of this complication and other ocular manifestations in patients treated at our medical center.

Patients and methods

Twenty-one consecutive patients (breast cancer: 14; metastatic non-small cell lung cancer: 6; metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma: 1) (female/male: 14/7; age range; 34–78 yr) were treated with weekly docetaxel (35 mg/m2/wk iv for 6 wk, cycles repeated every 49 d). A standard questionnaire regarding epiphora was completed before each dose of docetaxel Patients who complained of excessive tearing underwent a thorough ophthalmologic evaluation before receiving the next dose.


Epiphora due to stenosis of the lacrimal puncti, and canaliculi developed in seven (33%) patients following a cumulative dose of 208–645 mg/m2 (median: 400 mg/m2). Two patients developed complete canalicular stenosis requiring surgery. Epiphora was accompanied by madarosis and ectodermalization of the palpebral and bulbar conjunctiva, complete in five patients. Treatment was discontinued due to epiphora in two (10%) patients. After a median follow-up of 11 mo, four patients still had epiphora.


Epiphora due to canalicular stenosis is a frequent complication of weekly docetaxel and might be dose limiting. Irreversible damage requiring, surgical intervention may develop despite close monitoring.

Key words

Canalicular stenosis docetaxel drug toxicity epiphora 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Medy Tsalic
    • 1
  • Michael Gilboa
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bela Visel
    • 1
  • Benjamin Miller
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nissim Haim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OncolbgyRambam Medical CenterHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyRambam Medical CenterHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineTechnion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

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