Carboplatin is a chemotherapy drug that has primarily been used to treat cancer of the ovaries, lung (including mesothelioma and more specifically, pleural mesothelioma), head and neck. Coming on the market in the late 1980s, carboplatin has popularity among oncologists and mesothelioma doctors because of its relatively few and milder side effects compared with the much older drug from which it is derived, cisplatin. Nausea is more easily controlled in patients receiving carboplatin, remains in the system for a much longer period (retention half-life is over thirty hours), and it has proven to be effective for different types of cancers that are resistant to cisplatin, including germ-line cell, small and non-small cell lung, ovary, and bladder cancers, as well as acute leukemia and most recently, testicular cancer.
On the down side, carboplatin appears to inhibit the body's production of blood cells by as much as 90%. The decrease in disease-fighting white blood cells can leave the patient's immune system seriously compromised. It also requires four times the dose in order to get the same effect obtained with cisplatin. Researchers have found that the effectiveness of carboplatin can be increased by combining it with a salt solution beforehand, however.
Treatment with carboplatin is administered in three-week cycles over a three to four month period; some mesothelioma cancer patients have experienced as much as 80% reduction in tumor size over the course of therapy.
Henderson, Mark. "Lung Cancer Drug May Fight Breast Cancer in Women." London Times, 1 May 2006.
MacMillan Cancer Support. "GemCarbo Chemotherapy." CancerBackup.org.