ACTH/MSH like peptides in the treatment of cisplatin neuropathy

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1992 Sep;43(1-3):179-83. doi: 10.1016/0960-0760(92)90205-w.


The neurological toxicity seen in patients treated with cisplatin in most cases concerns ototoxicity and peripheral neuropathy. Thus far, the pathogenesis of cisplatin neuropathy remains obscure. Yet the fact that cisplatin affects mainly the sensory peripheral nerve fibers points towards an involvement of the dorsal root ganglia. In a rat model of cisplatin neuropathy, following a cumulative dose of approx. 12 mg/kg cisplatin the sensory nerve conduction velocity began to slow as compared to age-matched controls. Peptides derived from ACTH and MSH are known to exert neurotrophic effects. In vivo they facilitate postlesion repair mechanisms in the peripheral nervous system by enhancing the early sprouting response of the damaged nerve. Surprisingly, chronic treatment with a synthetic ACTH4-9 analog not only prevented cisplatin neurotoxicity following a low or high dose regimen, but also counteracted already existing cisplatin-induced neurotoxicity. Stimulated by these findings a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study was performed to assess the efficacy of the peptide in the prevention of cisplatin neuropathy in women suffering from ovarian cancer. The threshold of vibration perception (VPT) was used as the principal measure of neurotoxicity. Following 6 cycles of chemotherapy the VPT had increased more than 8-fold in women receiving placebo as co-medication. Whereas the VPT in women receiving 1 mg/m2 body surface ACTH4-9 analog before and after each cisplatin cycle only increased less than 2-fold. No side effects of the peptide treatment were observed and the clinical response to the chemotherapy was similar in all treatment groups. Collectively these preclinical and clinical data suggest that treatment based on non-endocrine fragments of ACTH/MSH may be a therapeutic option in the treatment of cisplatin neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / analogs & derivatives
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Peptide Fragments / therapeutic use
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Peptide Fragments
  • Org 2766
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones
  • Cisplatin