Cisplatin (Platinol) is a platinum-based chemotherapy drug that is used in combination with other drugs for advanced breast cancer and sometimes for triple negative disease (ER-/PR-/HER2-). Platinum-based drugs, or platins, cause crosslinking of DNA strands, thereby interfering with DNA repair and synthesis, and subsequently inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. While there is extensive research on the interaction of diet with chemotherapy drugs such as Adriamycin and Taxol (both used in early-stage disease), little research is available for cisplatin. Therefore, while we are not able to produce a full article devoted to cisplatin, we present a brief summary of the available results to date here.

Overall diet during cisplatin treatment

It is important for breast cancer patients on cisplatin to avoid consuming foods or taking supplements that will lessen the cytotoxic impact of this drug (and any other drugs in the chemotherapy regimen) on cancer cells. Note that compounds that provide relief from chemotherapy side effects might also provide some protection to breast cancer cells. In fact, while various micronutrients found in fruits, vegetables and other foods have been shown to help protect against breast cancer development and metastasis, some micronutrients, especially in concentrated form, might enable breast cancer cells to survive chemotherapy.

The goal should be to eat a healthy diet that meets nutritional needs while avoiding harmful foods that can promote breast cancer. It is more important to avoid unhealthy foods (fast food, junk food, meals consisting mostly of highly refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats (including most vegetable oils), red meat, fried food) than to consume cancer-fighting foods. The purpose of food during chemotherapy is to enable patients to feel well enough to continue treatment, not to eliminate side effects that may in fact be associated with successful treatment.

Foods that enhance the effectiveness of cisplatin or safely reduce side effects

The following foods are very good sources of compounds that have been shown to increase the anti-cancer effects of cisplatin and/or safely reduce its side effects:

Apples
Artichokes
Arugula
Bell peppers
Blueberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Buckwheat
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherries
Cherries, sour or tart

Cranberries
Currants, black
Flaxseed
Garlic
Ginger
Grapes, red
Green tea
Greens, all types
Horseradish
Hot peppers
Kale
Leeks
Lemons
Mustard

Onions
Oranges
Parsley
Pomegranates
Raspberries
Seaweed, red, brown & green
Spinach
Tangerines
Tomatoes
Turnips
Turmeric
Walnuts
Watercress

Products that should not be used during cisplatin chemotherapy

The following have been found either to interfere with the effectiveness of cisplatin or, in the case of raw shellfish, should not be consumed by those with impaired immunity:

Exposure to plastics and food packaging containing bisphenol A (BPA)
Fish oil supplements
Genistein supplements
Quercetin supplements
Aspirin is the best choice of over-the-counter pain medications (assuming the side effects can be tolerated) since aspirin has been shown to lower the concentration of cisplatin required to exert its cytotoxic action on tumor cells. On the other hand, the prescription painkiller Celebrex has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of cisplatin.