The dark side of platinum based cytostatic drugs: From detection to removal

Yessica Roque-Diaz, Martina Sanadar, Dong Han, Montserrat López-Mesas, Manuel Valiente, Marilena Tolazzi, Andrea Melchior*, Daniele Veclani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The uncontrolled release of pharmaceutical drugs into the environment raised serious concerns in the last decades as they can potentially exert adverse effects on living organisms even at the low concentrations at which they are typically found. Among them, platinum based cytostatic drugs (Pt CDs) are among the most used drugs in cancer treatments which are administered via intravenous infusion and released partially intact or as transformation products. In this review, the studies on environmental occurrence, transformation, potential ecotoxicity, and possible treatment for the removal of platinum cytostatic compounds are revised. The analysis of the literature highlighted the generally low total platinum concentration values (from a few tens of ng L−1 to a few hundred µg L−1 ) found in hospital effluents. Additionally, several studies highlighted how hospitals are sources of a minor fraction of the total Pt CDs found in the environment due to the slow excretion rate which is longer than the usual treatment durations. Only some data about the impact of the exposure to low levels of Pt CDs on the health of flora and fauna are present in literature. In some cases, adverse effects have been shown to occur in living organisms, even at low concentrations. Further ecotoxicity data are needed to support or exclude their chronic effects on the ecosystem. Finally, fundamental understanding is required on the platinum drugs removal by MBR, AOPs, technologies, and adsorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1873
Number of pages26
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Cytostatic drugs
  • Emerging pollutants
  • Environmental remediation
  • Water treatment


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