The platinum analogues, cisplatin and carboplatin, are among the most widely used chemotherapeutic agents in oncology. Both agents have a broad spectrum of clinical activity in numerous malignancies including gynaecological cancers, germ cell tumours, head and neck cancer, thoracic cancers and bladder cancer. Although the final mechanism of inducing tumour cell apoptosis is similar for both compounds, cisplatin has been shown to be more effective in treating specific tumour types. Whilst more favourable toxicity profiles are often associated with carboplatin, this can frequently translate to inferior response in certain malignancies. This review succinctly collates the evidence for the preferential use of these platinum analogues in particular settings in addition to the long-standing dilemma surrounding the paucity of biomarkers predicting response to these agents.