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Carboplatin (Molecule of the Month for August 2017)


Carboplatin is a chemotherapy medication used to treat a number of forms of cancer. This includes ovarian cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, brain cancer, and neuroblastoma It is used by injection into a vein. Carboplatin was patented in 1972 and approved for medical use in 1986. It may be used for some types of testicular cancer but cisplatin is generally more effective. Relative to cisplatin, the greatest benefit of carboplatin is its reduced side effects, particularly the elimination of nephrotoxic effects. Nausea and vomiting are less severe and more easily controlled.

The main drawback of carboplatin is its myelosuppressive effect. This causes the blood cell and platelet output of bone marrow in the body to decrease quite dramatically, sometimes as low as 10% of its usual production levels. The nadir of this myelosuppression usually occurs 2128 days after the first treatment, after which the blood cell and platelet levels in the blood begin to stabilize, often coming close to its pre-carboplatin levels. This decrease in white blood cells (neutropenia) can cause complications, and is sometimes treated with drugs like filgrastim. The most notable complication of neutropenia is increased probability of infection by opportunistic organisms, which necessitates hospital readmission and treatment with antibiotics.

Carboplatin was discovered at Michigan State University, and developed at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Picture of Carboplatin 3D model

click on the picture of  Carboplatin above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Carboplatin structure
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Picture of Carboplatin

C6 H12 N2 O4 Pt

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for August 2017 )

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