Activation of programmed cell death by anticancer agents: cisplatin as a model system

Cancer Cells. Aug-Sep 1990;2(8-9):275-80.


The anticancer drug cisplatin exerts its action as a consequence of interaction with DNA. Cell cycle progression facilitates sensitivity to the drug, but inhibition of DNA synthesis is not necessarily the critical step. Lethally damaged cells can progress to and arrest for several days in the G2 phase of the cell cycle before dying. Certain features of cisplatin-induced cell death, such as chromatin condensation and the activation of a DNA endonuclease, are reminiscent of apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Many other anticancer drugs produce the same phenotypic effects, suggesting that these agents may all interact with the same signal transduction pathway leading to cell death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology*
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*


  • Cisplatin