A meta-analysis of preclinical studies using antioxidants for the prevention of cisplatin nephrotoxicity: implications for clinical application

Crit Rev Toxicol. 2020 Oct;50(9):780-800. doi: 10.1080/10408444.2020.1837070. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Cisplatin is an effective chemotherapeutic drug whose clinical use and efficacy are limited by its nephrotoxicity, which affects mainly the renal tubules and vasculature. It accumulates in proximal and distal epithelial tubule cells and causes oxidative stress-mediated cell death and malfunction. Consequently, many antioxidants have been tested for their capacity to prevent cisplatin nephrotoxicity. In this study, we made a systematic review of the literature and meta-analyzed 152 articles, which tested the nephroprotective effect of isolated compounds or mixtures of natural origin on cisplatin nephrotoxicity in preclinical models. This meta-analysis identified the most effective candidates and examined the efficacy obtained by antioxidants administered by the oral and intraperitoneal routes. By comparing with a recent, similar meta-analysis performed on clinical studies, this article identifies a disconnection between preclinical and clinical research, and contextualizes, discusses, and integrates the existing preclinical information toward the optimized selection of candidates to be further explored (clinical level). Despite proved efficacy, this article discusses the barriers limiting the clinical development of natural mixtures, such as those in extracts from Calendula officinalis flowers and Heliotropium eichwaldii roots. On the contrary, isolated compounds are more straightforward candidates, among which arjunolic acid and quercetin stand out in this meta-analysis.

Keywords: Cisplatin; antioxidants; meta-analysis; nephrotoxicity; preclinical; prevention.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cisplatin / toxicity*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules


  • Antioxidants
  • Cisplatin