Drug Name: Cisplatin
Brand Name: Platinol by Bristol Myers-Squibb Company
FDA Approval: 1995
Intended Use: Cisplatin is an intravenous chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of many types of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, and esophageal cancer. Cisplatin is used in combination with pemetrexed, and other chemotherapy drugs, as well as a single-agent for certain cancer treatments.
Treatment: Cancer cells split and divide, thus spreading, or metastasizing. Cisplatin is classified as a platinum-containing compound which slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the body. In addition, cisplatin is an alkylating agent.
Alkylating agents are most active in the resting phase of the cell. These agents work by chemically modifying a cell’s DNA, making it impossible for the dividing cancer cells to duplicate their DNA for replication to another cell.
When cisplatin is used in combination with pemetrexed, it is used for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma and nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The combination infusion of the chemotherapy drugs is administered once every 21 days. The treatment is given on the first day of the cycle and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The patient then does not receive any further treatments until the next three-week period. Rest days” are the time in between treatments and is a standard part of chemotherapy treatment.
Side effects from cisplatin are common and include: low blood cell counts, thinned or brittle hair, loss of appetite or weight, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, changes in taste, numbness or tingling in the fingertips and toes. These will be monitored by your medical team during your treatments.
Success Story: Researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology have developed a way to deliver chemotherapy and cancer drugs directly to tumors. The development of nanoparticles, that selectively target the tumor cells and predispose them to chemotherapy drugs, allows for a lower dosage.
In the study, nanoparticles and cisplatin used in combination prevented the growth of cancerous skin and lung cells as well as inducing cancerous cell death. The tumors shrunk in 50 percent of mice, compared to a zero improvement in another group receiving cisplatin without nanoparticles.