The platinum-based drugs cisplatin, carboplatin, and oxaliplatin belong to the most widely used chemotherapeutics in oncology, showing clinical efficacy against many solid tumors. Their main mechanism of action is believed to be the induction of cancer cell apoptosis as a response to their covalent binding to DNA. In recent years, this picture has increased in complexity, based on studies indicating that cellular molecules other than DNA may potentially act as targets, and that part of the antitumor effects of platinum drugs occurs through modulation of the immune system. These immunogenic effects include modulation of STAT signaling; induction of an immunogenic type of cancer cell death through exposure of calreticulin and release of ATP and high-mobility group protein box-1 (HMGB-1); and enhancement of the effector immune response through modulation of programmed death receptor 1-ligand and mannose-6-phosphate receptor expression. Both basic and clinical studies indicate that at least part of the antitumor efficacy of platinum chemotherapeutics may be due to immune potentiating mechanisms. Clinical studies exploiting this novel mechanism of action of these old cancer drugs have been initiated. Here, we review the literature on the immunogenic effects of platinum, summarize the clinical advances using platinum as a cytotoxic compound with immune adjuvant properties, and discuss the limitations to these studies and the gaps in our understanding of the immunologic effects of these drugs. Clin Cancer Res; 20(11); 2831-7. (c)2014 AACR.
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