Purpose: Docetaxel is frequently used in the treatment of a wide variety of solid tumors, including breast cancer. The aim of this study is to obtain the population pharmacokinetic parameters of docetaxel in Japanese female patients with breast cancer. Methods: Blood samples from 24 patients were collected sequentially before and after docetaxel infusion. Genomic DNA was isolated from the peripheral blood and genotyped for the selected polymorphisms in the candidate genes of drug transporters and metabolizing enzymes. The influence of patient characteristics on the pharmacokinetics of docetaxel was evaluated using the nonlinear-mixed-effect modeling program, NONMEM. As a basis for comparison, the pharmacokinetics of another taxane paclitaxel in 41 separate female patients with breast cancer was calculated. Results: A two-compartment model adequately described the pharmacokinetic profiles of docetaxel. The population mean estimates of the total body clearance for patients aged 58 years or less and the central volume of distribution for docetaxel were 32.6 L/h and 5.77 L, respectively. In patients over 58 years, the clearance was 24 % higher than that in the younger patients. No influences of the genotypes examined were noted on the clearance of docetaxel. The clearance of paclitaxel was not affected by patient age. Conclusions: Patients over the age of 58 years showed significantly higher clearance of docetaxel than that in patients aged 58 years or less. Since the clearance of paclitaxel was not affected by the age, it is possible that the pharmacokinetic mechanisms of docetaxel might be specifically affected by age in females.
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