Washington: In first of its kind study, researchers have developed a new treatment that can prevent chemotherapy-induced hearing loss to about half in kids and adolescents with cancer.
The results of the study have been published in Lancet Oncology.
The study found that the greatest benefit was seen in children younger than 5 years of age, who are most susceptible to, and also most affected by, cisplatin-induced hearing loss.
Investigators from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and 37 other Children’s Oncology Group hospitals in the U.S. and Canada have determined that sodium thiosulfate prevents cisplatin-induced hearing loss in children and adolescents with cancer.
Cisplatin is a chemotherapy medication widely used to treat a variety of cancers in both adults and children.
“This federally-funded, cooperative group study is the first to show that cisplatin-induced hearing loss can be reduced by about half in children and adolescents being treated for cancer,” said lead author David R. Freyer at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
“It is an important step toward developing a safe and effective strategy that will greatly improve quality of life for cancer survivors,” he added.
Although effective, cisplatin frequently causes permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), resulting in functional disability for patients who receive it.
For young children in particular, hearing loss is especially serious because it results in impaired language development, learning and social interactions.
In ACCL0431, the randomized, controlled, phase 3 study, 125 eligible participants between the ages of one to 18 years with newly-diagnosed cancer were enrolled over a four year period. The cancer diagnoses were treated with cisplatin.
The participants received sodium thiosulfate or observation (control) during their chemotherapy. Their hearing was assessed at baseline, following completion of the chemotherapy regimen and one year later.
They found a significant reduction in the incidence of hearing loss in participants who were treated with cisplatin and sodium thiosulfate by 29 percent compared to those who received cisplatin alone were 56 percent.
Overall, sodium thiosulfate was tolerated well without any serious adverse events. (ANI)