The effect of lithium carbonate on chemotherapy-induced neutropenia and thrombocytopenia

Carol M Richman, M. M. Makii, P. A. Weiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Lithium carbonate ameliorates neutropenia associated with cancer chemotherapy. The efect of lithium suppression has not, however, been well established. In the present study, five patients with ovarian carcinoma receved daily lithium during alternate cycles of treatment with hexamethylmelamine, cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, and cis-platinum. Analysis of myelosuppression was performed on 24 paired consecutive cycles given at identical doses, one with and one without lithium. During lithium cycles, nadir leukocyte, neutrophil, and platelet counts were significantly higher (P <0.01, <0.01, <0.05 respectively) and the interval between treatments was shorter (P <0.01). One patient who has received 11 cycles of chemotherapy continues to receive 100% doses owing to the beneficial effect of lithium on chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. Lithium was poorly tolerated by some patients because of either tremor or nausea and vomiting, in spite of nontoxic serum lithium levels. The amelioration of drug-induced platelet suppression as well as neutrophil suppression noted in this study suggests that lithium's effect of hematopoiesis is not limited to stimulation of neutrophil production. The ability of lithium to decrease chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression suggests that lithium administration may facilitate escalation of chemotherapy doses in selected patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Hematology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of lithium carbonate on chemotherapy-induced neutropenia and thrombocytopenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this