Vestibulotoxicity in Patients Undergoing Cisplatin-Based Cancer Treatment: A Phase IIIB Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

Audiol Neurootol. 2023;28(3):230-238. doi: 10.1159/000528435. Epub 2023 Feb 2.


Introduction: This study aimed to evaluate the incidence of balance disorders and the efficacy of dexamethasone in protecting patients undergoing cisplatin-based cancer treatment against vestibulototoxicity.

Methods: This study was a randomized controlled phase IIIB clinical trial. The subjects participating in the clinical trial were patients with a neoplastic disease whose treatment protocol included cisplatin. The average dose of cisplatin was 444.87 mg (SD 235.2 mg). Treatment consisted of intratympanically administering dexamethasone via a passive diffusion device called Microwick (8 mg/24 h dose) from the start of treatment with cisplatin to 3 weeks after the last cycle. Patients were administered the medication to one ear, and the contralateral ear was used as the control. The treated ears were randomly chosen using a computer system (randomization). Vestibular system was evaluated by video head impulse test before each cisplatin cycle.

Results: Thirty-four patients were recruited over a 2-year period at a reference tertiary hospital, of whom 11 were excluded. Forty-six ears were analyzed (23 treated and 23 control ears). Vestibular analysis presented no changes in the mean increase in the vestibulo-ocular response in all patients evaluated, both in treated and control ears. Both 8.69% infection complications during treatment and 34.8% permanent perforation at 6 months were detected after device removal.

Conclusion: Ototoxicity related to cisplatin-based treatment does not affect the vestibular system. Long-term high-dose intratympanic dexamethasone treatment is safe for the vestibular system.

Keywords: Cisplatin; Dexamethasone; Intratympanic; Ototoxicity; Vestibular diseases; Vestibulo-ocular reflex.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects
  • Dexamethasone / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Cisplatin
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Dexamethasone