Oxaliplatin, sold under the brand name Eloxatin among others, is a cancer medication (platinum-based antineoplastic class) used to treat colorectal cancer.[5] It is given by injection into a vein.[5]

Clinical data
Trade namesEloxatin
License data
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ATC code
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Pharmacokinetic data
Elimination half-life~10 – 25 minutes[4]
  • [(1R,2R)-cyclohexane-1,2-diamine](ethanedioato-O,O')platinum(II)
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PubChem CID
PDB ligand
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass397.294 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • O1C(=O)C(=O)O[Pt-2]12[NH2+]C0CCCCC0[NH2+]2
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Common side effects include numbness, feeling tired, nausea, diarrhea, and low blood cell counts.[5][6] Other serious side effects include allergic reactions.[6][5] Use in pregnancy is known to harm the baby.[5] Oxaliplatin is in the platinum-based antineoplastic family of medications.[7] It is believed to work by blocking the duplication of DNA.[5]

Oxaliplatin was patented in 1976 in Japan and approved for medical use in 1996 in Europe.[8] It is on the 2023 World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.[9]

Medical uses


Oxaliplatin is used for treatment of colorectal cancer, typically along with folinic acid (leucovorin) and fluorouracil in a combination known as FOLFOX[10] or along with capecitabine in a combination known as CAPOX[11] or XELOX.[12] It may also be effective against breast cancer, germ cell tumor, ovarian cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.[13]

Advanced colorectal cancer


Oxaliplatin by itself has modest activity against advanced colorectal cancer.[14] When compared with just 5-fluorouracil and folinic acid administered according to the de Gramont regimen, a FOLFOX4 regime produced no significant increase in overall survival, but did produce an improvement in progression-free survival, the primary end-point of the phase III randomized trial.[15]

Adverse effects


Side-effects of oxaliplatin treatment can potentially include:

In addition, some patients may experience an allergic reaction to platinum-containing drugs. This is more common in women.[19]

Oxaliplatin has less ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity than cisplatin and carboplatin.[16]

Structure and mechanism


The compound features a square planar platinum(II) center. In contrast to other drugs of the platinum-based antineoplastic class of drugs cisplatin and carboplatin, oxaliplatin features the bidentate ligand trans-1,2-diaminocyclohexane in place of the two monodentate ammine ligands. It also features a bidentate oxalate group.[7] The three-dimensional structure of the molecule has been elucidated by X-ray crystallography, although the presence of pseudosymmetry in the crystal structure has caused confusion in its interpretation.[22]

According to in vivo studies, oxaliplatin fights carcinoma of the colon through non-targeted cytotoxic effects. Like other platinum compounds, its cytotoxicity is thought to result from inhibition of DNA synthesis in cells. In particular, oxaliplatin forms both inter- and intra-strand cross links in DNA,[23] which prevent DNA replication and transcription, causing cell death.



Oxaliplatin was first synthesized in 1978 at Nagoya City University by Yoshinori Kidani.[24] It was later developed in Europe as a less toxic and more effective alternative to cisplatin. It gained European approval in 1996,[25] and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002.[26] Generic oxaliplatin was first approved in the United States in August 2009.[27] Patent disputes caused generic production to stop in 2010, but it restarted in 2012.[28][29]

Patent information


Eloxatin was covered by patent numbers 5338874 (expired 7 April 2013), 5420319 (expired 8 August 2016), 5716988 (expired 7 August 2015) and 5290961 (expired 12 January 2013) (see Electronic Orange Book patent info for Eloxatin).[30] Exclusivity code I-441, which expired on 4 November 2007, is for use combination with infusional 5-FU/LV for adjuvant treatment stage III colon cancer patients who have undergone complete resection primary tumor-based on improvement in disease free survival with no demonstrated benefit overall survival after 4 years. Exclusivity code NCE, New Chemical Entity, expired on 9 August 2007.[30]


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  18. ^ Gebremedhn EG, Shortland PJ, Mahns DA (April 2018). "The incidence of acute oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy and its impact on treatment in the first cycle: a systematic review". BMC Cancer. 18 (1): 410. doi:10.1186/s12885-018-4185-0. PMC 5897924. PMID 29649985.
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Further reading