Risk factors for cisplatin-associated ototoxicity in pediatric oncology patients

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2012 Jul 15;59(1):144-8. doi: 10.1002/pbc.24138. Epub 2012 Mar 19.


Background: Cisplatin is an effective chemotherapy agent against several pediatric malignancies. One of its side effects is irreversible sensorineural hearing damage that is highly variable with a reported incidence of 22-70%. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and identify clinical predictors of cisplatin-related ototoxicity.

Procedures: We performed a retrospective chart review of 102 pediatric patients who had completed cisplatin therapy for osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, hepatoblastoma, or germ cell tumor. Patients were diagnosed at Riley Hospital for Children between January 1995 and June 2008, were less than 18 years old at diagnosis, and had normal hearing prior to therapy. Audiograms were scored using the Brock scale (0-4), a validated grading system for cisplatin-related hearing loss.

Results: Forty-two percent of the patients experienced hearing loss and 28% had moderate to severe ototoxicity (Brock score ≥2). Males were at significantly greater risk for developing hearing loss than were females (P = 0.005, OR 4.812). Age at cancer diagnosis was inversely related to severity of ototoxicity. Patients who suffered Brock grade 3 ototoxicity had a mean age of 4.5 years versus 11.5 years and 7.2 years for grades 1 and 2, respectively (P = 0.02). Cumulative cisplatin dose was also identified as a risk factor for development of ototoxicity (P = 0.03).

Conclusions: Gender and cumulative dose are important clinical biomarkers of cisplatin ototoxicity. Severity of ototoxicity may be inversely related to age at time of exposure, with very young patients exhibiting higher grades of hearing loss following cisplatin therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Loss / chemically induced*
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin