Fact Checked

How Effective Is Carboplatin for Lung Cancer?

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

Using carboplatin for lung cancer is generally considered to be an effective treatment, particularly when used in combination with other drugs such as paclitaxel. While carboplatin is not as effective as cisplatin in treating advanced non-small cell lung cancer, it actually causes fewer side effects in most patients and is easier to administer. Studies have shown that patients taking carboplatin for lung cancer survive for 8.4 months on average. The drug is approved for use in both non-small cell lung cancer and ovarian cancer, but doctors may use the drug “off-label” for other cancers.

The main action of carboplatin for lung cancer is to gradually kill cancer cells. The drug does this by binding to the cancer cells and preventing them from repairing themselves. This eventually kills the cancer cells and improves the patient’s condition. The drug contains platinum, like its close chemical relation, cisplatin. A single molecule of carboplatin is relatively large, which means that the substance takes long to metabolize in the body and does very little harm through by-products.

Smoking is closely associated with lung cancer.
Smoking is closely associated with lung cancer.

Studies have confirmed that using carboplatin for lung cancer is an effective treatment. Patients taking the drug for advanced non-small cell lung cancer survive on average for 8.4 months. Its parent compound, cisplatin, is slightly more effective, giving an average survival of 9.1 months. The difference between these two results is not statistically significant, but does seem to indicate that carboplatin for lung cancer my not necessarily be the best treatment.

Regardless, the drug is still considered as a major treatment option. This is because the chance of serious side effects very low with carboplatin, and the drug is easy for doctors to administer. The main side effect of carboplatin is that it reduces blood platelet levels, but the drug can also damage the bone marrow. Some doctors think that the small chance of serious side effects with carboplatin and its overall effectiveness make it one of the best drugs for lung cancer available.

A very common method of using carboplatin for lung cancer is as part of a combination treatment. This is usually done in combination with paclitaxel. Studies conducted into this combination treatment have found that it increases survival rates by over 4 months compared to single treatments with drugs such as gemcitabine. Additionally, patients taking the combination treatment have better tumor response rates and less progression of the cancer.

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    • Smoking is closely associated with lung cancer.
      By: Николай Григорьев
      Smoking is closely associated with lung cancer.