TAC: Taxotere, Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide
It is a combination of three chemotherapy medicines:
Docetaxel is a type of chemotherapy medicine called an taxane. Doxorubicin is a type of chemotherapy medicine called an anthracycline. Cyclophosphamide is a type of chemotherapy medicine called an alkylating agent.
Docetaxel works by damaging the structure or the “skeleton” that supports cancer cells. This stops the cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Doxorubicin damages the DNA inside the cancer cells. The damage stops the cells from dividing, which causes them to die.
Cyclophosphamide attaches to and damages the DNA in cancer cells when they are in their resting phase (not dividing). After their DNA is damaged, the cells can’t keep dividing, and their growth slows or stops.
All three medicines are usually given by vein on the first day of each cycle of treatment, followed by a 20-day rest period, making each cycle 3 weeks long. TAC is usually given for six cycles, for an average total treatment time of 18 weeks.
Common side effects of TAC include:
- Increased risk of infection
- Low red and white blood cell counts
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Increased risk of sunburn
- Menopausal symptoms
- Bladder irritation
- Joint and muscle aches
- Fever and chills
- Neuropathy, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Nail and skin changes
- Eye irritation
Less common side effects include:
Before starting TAC, be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines, to make sure they won’t interfere with your chemotherapy treatment.
You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are receiving TAC. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while you are undergoing treatment.