Cisplatin Treatment -
Mesothelioma Cisplatin Chemotherapy
Cisplatin (cis-diamminedichloroplatinum / cis-DDP) is a type of platinum-based chemotherapy drug that has been commonly used in the chemical treatment of various cancers, including sarcomas, lymphomas, germ cell tumors and certain carcinomas. Approved for use by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1978, Cisplatin was one of the first in a series of drugs that would help to revolutionize the treatment of cancer.
By cross-linking DNA in a variety of ways, Cisplatin makes it impossible for rapidly dividing cancer cells to duplicate their DNA for the purpose of cellular replication (mitosis). The damaged strands of DNA initiate a naturally occurring chain reaction that culminates with programmed cellular death (apoptosis).
Cisplatin was the first member in its class of platinum-based anticancer drugs; carboplatin and oxaliplatin were eventually added. Although Cisplatin has proven effective in the treatment of a variety of cancer types, it has been unable to provide successful results in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma; however, combination chemotherapy treatments involving Cisplatin and a number of newer chemotherapy drugs are continuously being tested.
Alimta is a folate antimetabolite chemotherapy drug that is chemically similar to folic acid. Alimta inhibits three enzymes that are used in the synthesis of DNA and RNA, inhibiting cellular growth. When used as a single agent, Alimta is indicated for the treatment of patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell mesothelioma lung cancer who have undergone prior chemotherapy treatments.
When Alimta is used in combination with Cisplatin, it is the only FDA approved drug used for the specific treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma (accounting for more than 75 percent of all documented cases).
Like most chemotherapy drugs, Cisplatin treatments can lead to the development of a number of side effects that can limit use of the drug:
- Hair loss
- Nausea / vomiting (emetogenic drug type)
- Kidney damage (nephrotoxicity) - major concern associated with the use of Cisplatin
- Nerve damage (neurotoxicity)
- Hearing loss (ototoxicity) - less common side effect
- Loss of appetite
Cisplatin was first recognized as a compound by a chemist named M. Peyrone in the 1840s under the designation "Peyrone's chloride." The compound was further studied and explained by the Nobel Prize winning chemist Alfred Werner in the 1890s; however, it wasn't until the 1970s, under the groundbreaking work of Dr. Barnett Rosenberg, that Cisplatin was recognized as an anticancer drug. Rosenberg deduced that if a compound inhibits cellular division, it may be effective as an anticancer medication. A series of tests and experiments conducted at Michigan State University, in which sarcomas were artificially implanted in rats, marked the beginning of the medicinal study of Cisplatin and demonstrated the drug's effectiveness.
[Page updated August 2009]