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December 1, 1978

How do things stand with cisplatin?

JAMA. 1978;240(23):2521-2525. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290230013004

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Solid tumors are the nemesis of cancer chemotherapists because they resist the action of many drugs whether given alone or in combination with surgery and radiation therapy: Hence, the growing interest of oncologists and other physicians in the potential of cis-diaminodichloroplatinum (cisplatin), a relatively new experimental agent.

Originally demonstrated to be active against disseminated testicular tumors (JAMA MEDICAL NEWS 237:2377 [May 30] 1977), cisplatin now has been shown to be active against several other forms of squamous cell carcinoma. It has produced substantial regression in advanced tumors of the head and neck, genitourinary tract, and lung, and this makes cisplatin, along with doxorubicin hydrochloride, one of the most promising new drugs against solid tumors.

Several controlled randomized trials are now under way to determine whether the agent also increases survival in advanced cancers relative to currently used therapies.

Head and Neck Cancer.—  Activity of cisplatin alone against unresectable squamous cell