Etanercept treatment for autoimmune inner ear disease: Results of a pilot placebo-controlled study

Stanley Cohen, Angela Shoup, Michael H. Weisman, Jeffrey Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Purpose: Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease (AIED) is an idiopathic progressive, often bilateral, sensironeural hearing loss that occurs over weeks to months, generally resulting in significant auditory disability. Response to treatment with immunomodulators other than corticosteroids has been poor. Data from a guinea pig model of AIED and a recent open label trial of etanercept suggested potential treatment benefit. Based on these preliminary results, we conducted a pilot placebo controlled trial of etanercept in AIED patients. Methods: Twenty AIED patients were enrolled in a 12-week blinded placebo (PLA) controlled randomized clinical trial of etanercept (ETA) with 25 mg SC twice weekly. Patients received treatment for 8 weeks with a 4-week follow-up off-treatment. The primary study endpoint was an improvement in pure tone threshold (PTA) of 10Db in two consecutive frequencies and/or improvement in speech discrimination of >12% at week 8. Results: Patient demographics were similar for the ETA and PLA patients. Seventeen subjects (8 ETA, 9 PLA) completed the trial. The 3 dropouts were due to lack of efficacy. One ETA and 2 PLA subjects achieved the primary endpoint (p > 0.999). One ETA and 1 PLA pt demonstrated improved in hearing loss and vertigo severity by VAS and hearing disability. No safety issues were observed. Conclusion: The results of this pilot trial demonstrate that etanercept 25 mg twice weekly for 8 weeks was no better than placebo for treatment of AIED in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-907
Number of pages5
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Autoimmune inner ear disease
  • Etanercept

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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