What Is Carboplatin?
Researchers developed this cancer medicine in the late 1980s. Doctors like it because it has fewer bad effects compared to other chemotherapy drugs. One of those drugs is cisplatin, which is the “parent” drug of carboplatin.
Carboplatin is a medication that can help treat certain types of cancers, such as ovarian cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancers. It also treats mesothelioma.
Chemotherapeutic drugs are special medicines used to fight cancer. Carboplatin helps by breaking into the cells’ walls and attaching itself to the cell’s DNA. This blocks it from dividing or working properly. This stops the cell from growing and ends up killing it. These drugs work so well on cancer because they mostly target cells that grow quickly.
Unlike other chemotherapy drugs, doctors dose carboplatin based on projected total body exposure. They use a calculated measurement called “area under the curve” (AUC).
|Alternate Names||Carboplatin, Carboplatinum|
|Dosage||AUC 5 every three weeks|
|Drug Class||Antineoplastic alkylating agent|
|Interacting Drug||Docetaxel, paclitaxel, aminoglycoside antibiotics, leflunomide, natalizumab, pimecrolimus, topotecan, trastuzumab|
|Related Drug||Bone marrow suppression, anemia, vomiting, anaphylactic-like reactions, fetal toxicity|
|Medical Studies||Study of Nivolumab Combined with Ipilimumab Versus Pemetrexed and Cisplatin or Carboplatin as First Line Therapy in Unrescetable Pleural Mesothelioma Patients (CheckMate743)|
|FDA Warning||Bone marrow suppression, anemia, vomiting, anaphylactic-like reactions, fetal toxicity|
Carboplatin in Mesothelioma Treatment
Carboplatin chemotherapy is a type of treatment given to patients with mesothelioma. Usually, it’s done at a hospital or treatment center on an outpatient basis. The medicine is given through a vein in the arm, and this happens about once every 21 days. Sometimes, a patient may have to stay in the hospital.
Carboplatin should be used with caution in individuals with kidney disease. It could worsen kidney function and increased risk of carboplatin toxicity.
Like most chemotherapy drugs, carboplatin is harmful to unborn babies. Thus, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use it.
Side Effects of Carboplatin
Side effects of carboplatin are less severe than those of other chemotherapeutic agents.
Patients taking this medication can still expect to experience some side effects, which may include:
- Hair loss
- Impaired immune function
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Feelings of fatigue or weakness
- Increased tendency for bruising or bleeding (due to poor clotting)
Patients experiencing the following should immediately call their doctor:
- Red urine
- Dizziness or feeling of faintness
- Black, tarry stools
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Swelling of the feet or ankles
Those treated with carboplatin for mesothelioma cancer typically experience reduced immune system function and become more prone to infection. This means even a cold may be dangerous to a patient receiving this treatment. Anyone receiving treatment with carboplatin should avoid contact with people who have colds or other infections.
A potentially serious side effect is kidney damage. Your doctor will be monitoring for this.
The appearance of any side effects, whether mild or serious, should be discussed with a doctor as soon as they arise. A cancer doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help alleviate certain side effects such as nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. To avoid potential life-threatening complications, anyone who is taking carboplatin should seek medical advice if they contract any kind of infection or experience fever, chills, rash or sore throat.
Research shows that carboplatin is an effective form of chemotherapy for mesothelioma that extends survival and reduces symptoms, including difficulty breathing and chest pain.
In 2003, scientists studied carboplatin and gemcitabine in patients with pleural mesothelioma. They found that the treatment helped a lot. The patients had fewer symptoms and lived longer, with an average of 16.5 months. About 25% of the patients saw their tumors get smaller by half. Almost half of the people in the study had an easier time breathing, and 40% gained weight. Additionally, 26% said that their pain got better.
A 2006 phase II trial of carboplatin and pemetrexed in pleural mesothelioma patients reported an overall survival of 12.7 months. Researchers noted that this chemotherapeutic combination produced results similar to the FDA-approved combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed, but with fewer side effects.
In 2008, scientists did a phase III study to compare two treatments for pleural mesothelioma. They looked at how well carboplatin and cisplatin worked when used with another medicine called pemetrexed. More people responded to cisplatin and pemetrexed (26.3%) compared to carboplatin and pemetrexed (21.7%). However, other things, like how long people lived, were pretty much the same for both groups. For example, about 63% of the people in the cisplatin group and 64% of the people in the carboplatin group were still alive after one year.
Carboplatin may not be the first drug of choice for mesothelioma. It is an effective one that is well suited for those who don’t tolerate or cannot receive cisplatin. The response rates and survival rates are comparable to cisplatin, with the added benefit of causing less severe side effects.