Carboplatin, or Paraplatin

Carboplatin, or Paraplatin

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Carboplatin or Paraplatin which was approved in the 1970s for use with ovarian cancer and lung cancer, although, because of its general DNA damaging action, oncologists now use it for other slow-growing cancers such as bladder, stomach and testicular cancers. It is normally used in combination with other drugs. 

Carboplatin (sold under the trade name of Paraplatin) has been popular with oncologists due to greatly reduced side-effects when compared with the original platinum-based chemo drug cisplatin.  Both of these are classified as DNA alkylating agents which means they bind to and interfere with the ability of DNA to replicate.

Apart from ovarian cancer and lung cancer, it is sometimes used with colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer and brain cancer, and neuroblastoma and slow growing cancers, like bladder, testicular or stomach cancer.  

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Professor Tim Oliver of Bart’s has completed a large research study on the drug and concludes that one dose of carboplatin on testicular cancer is equivalent to three weeks of radiotherapy.

It is a colourless liquid, usually given through a drip. It is often given in combination with Paclitaxel (Taxol), for example with ovarian or endometrial cancer, and with anthracycline drugs such as doxorubicin and epirubicin.


As is noted elsewhere on this Website, research shows that Paclitaxel when it attacks and reduces tumours, can cause more metastases; Carboplatin is often used with it to kill the cancer cells that escape. 

Also, anthracycline drugs have a problem with cardiotoxicity but carboplatin itself has quite low toxicity.

Carboplatin is a bigger molecule than cisplatin and stays in the body longer as a result, having a longer 'working life' as a result. It is now off-patent and therefore cheap to use in chemotherapy programmes.

Side effects: Carboplatin is itself a carcinogen. It can cause cancer. On the manufacturer's Website it says that Carboplatin can destroy fertility, affect blood clotting, weaken the immune system, cause anaemia, diarrhoea, fatigue, loss of appetite, tingling/numbing of feet/hands/nerves etc.

You can generally reduce side-effects of chemotherapy drugs and improve their performance: o

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects.

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Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list


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