Chemotherapy is a widely used treatment for cancer. Despite brilliant inhibitory impacts on cancer cells, chemotherapy cause various side effects and the most serious one is nephrotoxicity that is accompanied by some symptoms like bleeding urine, proteinuria and renal dysfunction. When chemotherapy drugs break down, they make products that can damage renal tubules and glomeruli in the kidneys.
Measures should be taken to help prevent and manage the nephrotoxicity induced by chemotherapy. Some measures include:
- Renal function and the urinary system should be regularly checked before chemotherapy
- Close attention should be paid to the dynamic changes of urinalysis, renal function and other indicators in a high-dose treatment.
- Patients should be advised to drink more water and extra fluids may be given intravenously if necessary
- Sodium bicarbonate can be prophylactically taken to alkalify urine
- Allopurinol can be used prophylactically to reduce uric acid crystals
- Combined medication is advised to avoid the adverse impacts caused by large doses of the only one drug
Ginsenosides are the pharmacologically active components in ginseng that are found to exhibit brilliant anticancer property. A large number of studies have found that ginsenosides can significantly reduce the nephrotoxicity caused by chemotherapy drugs.
Take chemotherapy drug cisplatin as an example. Cisplatin-induced oxidative damage can lead to the nephrotoxicity. Researchers have found that ginsenosides have strong antioxidant properties and can protect renal tubular cells and significantly alleviate acute kidney injury. A study illustrated the kidney-protective effects of ginsenosides Rh3 against cisplatin-induced apoptotic damage in renal proximal LLC-PK1 cells.
The results of these studies indicate that the combined use of ginsenosides and chemotherapy drugs can be an effective cancer treatment. In addition to the positive effects on reducing serious side effects like nephrotoxicity, vomiting, rashes and leukopenia, ginsenosides are found to reduce the resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy drugs.
Today, more and more cancer patients begin to use ginsenosides together with chemotherapeutic drugs and targeted therapeutic drugs, and this combination therapy has brought great benefits.