Since the introduction of platinum-based combination chemotherapy, particularly cisplatin, the outcome of the treatment of many solid tumours has changed. The leading platinum compounds in cancer chemotherapy are cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin. They share some structural similarities; however, there are marked differences between them in therapeutic use, pharmacokinetics and adverse effects profiles [1-4]. Compared to cisplatin, carboplatin has inferior efficacy in germ-cell tumour, head and neck cancer and bladder and oesophageal carcinoma, whereas both drugs seem to have comparable efficacy in advanced non-small cell and small cell lung cancer as well as ovarian cancer [5-7]. Oxaliplatin belongs to the group of diaminocyclohexane platinum compounds. It is the first platinum-based drug that has marked efficacy in colorectal cancer when given in combination with 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid [8,9]. Other platinum compounds such as oral JM216, ZD0473, BBR3464 and SPI-77, which is a pegylated liposomal formulation of cisplatin, are still under investigation [10-13], whereas nedaplatin has been approved in Japan for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and other solid tumours. This review focuses on cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin.