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Platinum-based chemotherapy agents initially transformed cancer treatment. However their effectiveness peaked as combined regimes showed little additional benefit in trials. New research frontiers developed with the discovery that conventional chemotherapy can induce immunological cell death by recruiting high mobility group box 1 protein through T-cell immunity. Simultaneously monoclonal antibody agents (not effective as monotherapies) showed good results in combination with conventional chemotherapy. Some of these combinations are currently in use and researchers hope to develop regimes which can offer substantial benefits. Several resistance mechanisms against platinum compounds are known, but more knowledge is still needed to gain a full understanding. It seems reasonable therefore to revisit the pharmacology of these agents, which may also lead to identify rational combinations with monoclonal agents providing regimes with less toxicity and better efficacy. This article reviews the pharmacology of cisplatin and oxaliplatin and explores their possible association with monoclonal antibody treatments.
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