Background: Early clinical trials have suggested that glutathione (GSH) offers protection from the toxic effects of cisplatin.
Patients and methods: One hundred fifty-one patients with ovarian cancer (stage I-IV) were evaluated in a clinical trial of cisplatin (CDDP) +/- glutathione (GSH). The objective was to determine whether GSH would enhance the feasibility of giving six cycles of CDDP at 100 mg/m2 without dose reduction due to toxicity.
Results: When considering the proportion of patients receiving six courses of CDDP at any dose, GSH produced a significant advantage over control--58% versus 39%, (P = 0.04). For these patients there was a significant difference between the reduction in creatinine clearance for GSH treated patients compared with control--74% versus 62% (P = 0.006). Quality of life scores demonstrated that for patients receiving GSH there was a statistically significant improvement in depression, emesis, peripheral neurotoxicity, hair loss, shortness of breath and difficulty concentrating. As an indication of overall activity, these patients were statistically significantly more able to undertake housekeeping and shopping. Clinically assessed response to treatment demonstrated a trend towards a better outcome in the GSH group (73% versus 62%) but this was not statistically significant (P = 0.25).
Conclusions: The results demonstrate that adding GSH to CDDP allows more cycles of CDDP treatment to be administered because less toxicity is observed and the patient's quality of life is improved.