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Cisplatin Chemotherapy

cisplatin chemotherapy


Cisplatin [cis-diamminedichloroplatinum(II)] has been in widespread use for many years to treat several forms of cancer, including testicular, ovarian, cervical, head and neck, and non-small-cell lung cancers1, however, resistance to this drug remains a major obstacle in chemotherapy.It is generally accepted that the cytotoxicity of cisplatin is determined primarily by its DNA adducts. DNA damage arrests the cell cycle, inhibits transcription, and initiates cell death (apoptosis or necrosis). However, recent studies suggest that cisplatin has multiple cellular targets beyond nuclear DNA, including membrane lipids2 and proteins3, mitochondrial proteins and DNA4, components of the cytoskeleton5, cellular enzymes6. Consequently, cell response to cisplatin cannot be fully described in terms of only DNA adduct formation, but can include multiple drug-induced physiological changes. Uncovering the mechanism and targets of cisplatin action can be a key to the understanding of its cytotoxicity and resistance and to the development new therapeutic strategies.

How to Use

This medication is usually given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to therapy. Courses of cisplatin treatment should not be given more often than once every 3 to 4 weeks. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Your course of gemcitabine and cisplatin

You will have chemotherapy as a course of several sessions (or cycles) of treatment over a few months. Gemcitabine and cisplatin can be given in different ways. We describe two ways you might have it. Your doctor or nurse will be able to give you details of your treatment course.

Option 1:Each cycle of gemcitabine and cisplatin takes 21 days (three weeks).On the first day, you will have gemcitabine and cisplatin. A week later (day 8), you’ll have gemcitabine again. After this, you’ll have a rest period of 13 days with no chemotherapy.At the end of the 21 days, you will start your second cycle of treatment. This is exactly the same as the first cycle. You have up to six cycles over 18 weeks. Your doctor or nurse will tell you the exact number of cycles that you are likely to have.

Option 2:Each cycle of gemcitabine and cisplatin takes 28 days (four weeks).On day one, you will have infusions of cisplatin and gemcitabine. On days eight and 15, you’ll have gemcitabine only. This is then followed by 13 days of rest before starting the next cycle.

Side Effect

During treatment with this medication, it is important that you take in more fluids than usual and pass urine frequently to help avoid kidney side effects. Intravenous fluids should be given with this medication. Also, ask your doctor how much fluid you should drink and follow these instructions carefully.Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and loss of taste may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be quite severe and persistent. Drug therapy is used to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.


Before using cisplatin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to carboplatin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

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