Hearing loss in children and young adults receiving cisplatin with or without prior cranial irradiation

M. J. Schell, V. A. McHaney, A. A. Green, L. E. Kun, F. A. Hayes, M. Horowitz, W. H. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


One hundren seventy-seven children and young adults with various malignant neoplasma were prospectively tested for hearing loss after they had received cisplatin (n = 146), cranial irradiation (n = 18), or both (n = 13). Adequate renal function, no history of treatment with ototoxic drugs other than cisplatin and availability for repeated audiometric testing were requirements for enrollment. Substantial hearing loss, defined as a hearing threshold of 50 dB or greater, was noted in only 11% of the cohort on tests conducted at the common speech frequencies (500 to 3,000 Hz). About half the patients had substantial deficits at higher frequencies (4,000 to 8,000 Hz). The probability of substantial hearing loss was directly related to the cumulative dose of cisplatin. In nonirradiated patients tested at the speech frequencies, there was a negligible risk of substantial deficits over the dose range of 90 to 360 mg/m2. As the dose increased to 720 mg/m2, the risk increased to 22%. In irradiated patients who later received cisplatin, cumulative drug doses as low as 270 mg/m2 were associated with a high probability of substantial hearing loss, suggesting potentiation of ototoxicity when these therapies are used together. Hearing acuity was either not affected or only minimally decreased in the irradiation-only group. Younger age, prior irradiation, and the presence of a CNS tumor each contributed significantly to the severity of hearing deficits at given cisplatin dose levels. We conclude that early increases in hearing threshold at a stimulus frequency of 4,000 Hz indicate probable subsequent deficits at lower frequencies, especially in young children with CNS tumors who have received cranieal irradiation. The probability charts derived from this analysis should provide a useful tool for predicting hearing loss in the speech frequencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-760
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Hearing loss in children and young adults receiving cisplatin with or without prior cranial irradiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this