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How does carboplatin stop cancer?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Oct 19, 2021.

Official answer


Carboplatin is a chemotherapy drug that stops cancer growth by halting or slowing the growth of cancer cells. It does this by binding to the cell DNA and preventing it’s replication.

Carboplatin is classified as an alkylating agent and platinum-containing compound. It is not cell-cycle specific, meaning that it kills cancer cells when they are at rest, not actively dividing.

Carboplatin is usually given by an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein. Your will receive this medicine in cycles over a period of time, typically every 4 weeks, in a clinic. In between cycles, your body will rest and recuperate from the treatment.

Which cancer does carboplatin treat?

Carboplatin is used together with other cancer drugs to treat advanced ovarian cancer. It may be used in ovarian cancer that has never been treated or cancer that has come back after treatment with other anticancer drugs.

Carboplatin is usually combined with another platinum-type chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel to treat ovarian cancer. It is a commonly used combination for ovarian cancer because it has been shown to help patients live longer over other cancer treatments.

Your doctor may decide to give you carboplatin to treat other types of cancer, such as lung, anal, bladder, breast or head and neck cancer, among others. For some uses, this is called an “off-label” use.

  • "Off-label" use of a drug refers to when a doctor prescribes a drug for a different purpose than those formally approved by the FDA and found in the package labeling of the drug.
  • Your doctor may decide to use carboplatin for other cancers when they believe it will be helpful for you and there is adequate clinical information and experience.
  • You may receive carboplatin in combination with other treatments.

Learn more

This is not all the information you need to know about carboplatin for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full carboplatin information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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