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IU Cancer Center Researcher Awarded $5.7 Million to Study Chemotherapy-Induced Hearing Loss, Toxicities


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A researcher at the Indiana University (IU) Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center has been awarded a 5-year, $5.7 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to evaluate long-term health outcomes for patients with cancer who receive platinum-based chemotherapies. An internationally recognized expert on cancer survivorship, Lois B. Travis, MD, ScD, leads the ongoing study.

Lois B. Travis, MD, ScD

Lois B. Travis, MD, ScD

Lawrence Einhorn, MD, FASCO

Lawrence Einhorn, MD, FASCO

Although platinum-based chemotherapies may lead to hearing loss, ringing in the ears, numbness in hands and feet, and other side effects, it is the only proven cure for the vast majority of patients with testicular cancer.When IU’s Lawrence Einhorn, MD, FASCO, developed a revolutionary therapy for testicular cancer in the 1970s, he reversed the 95% mortality rate for the disease to a 95% survival rate. His regimen of platinum-based cisplatin and two other drugs continues to be the standard care for testicular cancer. Dr. Einhorn is the Livestrong Foundation Professor of Oncology at IU School of Medicine and a physician scientist at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Study Details

Drs. Travis and Einhorn and a team of researchers from other top cancer centers are following more than 2,000 testicular cancer survivors who are part of the largest clinical cohort of germ cell cancer survivors worldwide. The alliance of researchers leads The Platinum Study, which was established through an NCI grant awarded to Dr. Travis in 2012. 

“We have shown with audiometric examination that 80% of the patients had hearing loss, with one in five classified as severe to profound, levels at which hearing aids are recommended,” said Dr. Travis, who is the Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Cancer Research at IU School of Medicine. Additionally, researchers found that 56% of patients experienced neuropathy and 40% had tinnitus.

With this grant, researchers will tap into the existing cohort of patients who are part of the Platinum Study. As patients age, researchers will continue to follow health changes, including whether they are more susceptible to age-related hearing loss. The team of investigators wants to understand better which patients are at higher risk for these adverse outcomes and the daily effects of the toxicities.

 


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