Cisplatin nephrotoxicity: a review

Am J Med Sci. 2007 Aug;334(2):115-24. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31812dfe1e.


Background: Cisplatin is a major antineoplastic drug for the treatment of solid tumors, but it has dose-dependent renal toxicity.

Methods: We reviewed clinical and experimental literature on cisplatin nephrotoxicity to identify new information on the mechanism of injury and potential approaches to prevention and/or treatment.

Results: Unbound cisplatin is freely filtered at the glomerulus and taken up into renal tubular cells mainly by a transport-mediated process. The drug is at least partially metabolized into toxic species. Cisplatin has multiple intracellular effects, including regulating genes, causing direct cytotoxicity with reactive oxygen species, activating mitogen-activated protein kinases, inducing apoptosis, and stimulating inflammation and fibrogenesis. These events cause tubular damage and tubular dysfunction with sodium, potassium, and magnesium wasting. Most patients have a reversible decrease in glomerular filtration, but some have an irreversible decrease in glomerular filtration. Volume expansion and saline diuresis remain the most effective preventive strategies.

Conclusions: Understanding the mechanisms of injury has led to multiple approaches to prevention. Furthermore, the experimental approaches in these studies with cisplatin are potentially applicable to other drugs causing renal dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Cisplatin / pharmacokinetics
  • Cisplatin / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Renal Insufficiency / chemically induced*
  • Renal Insufficiency / pathology
  • Renal Insufficiency / prevention & control


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin