hearing loss cancer chemo

Study: Sodium Thiosulfate Treatment Significantly Reduces Chemotherapy-Induced Hearing Loss in Children

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — According to a new study, investigators at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and 37 other Children’s Oncology Group hospitals in the U.S. and Canada have found that sodium thiosulfate helps prevent cisplatin-induced hearing loss in children with cancer.

Results of the randomized, controlled, phase 3 study, were published in this month’s online edition of Lancet Oncology.


Hearing Loss from Chemotherapy


Cisplatin is one of the most commonly used chemotherapy medications to treat various forms of cancers, in both adults and children. Unfortunately, while cisplatin is effective at cancer treatment, it is also known to cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus in patients undergoing treatment.

For children, the potential for permanent hearing loss as a result of treatment is even more serious due the potential impact on language development.

Typically the only way to prevent hearing loss has been to stop or decrease doses of cisplatin, which could render the cancer treatment less effective and put patients at risk.


“This federally-funded, cooperative group study is the first to show that cisplatin-induced hearing loss can be reduced by about half in children and adolescents being treated for cancer. It is an important step toward developing a safe and effective strategy that will greatly improve quality of life for cancer survivors.”  David R. Freyer, DO, MS


Investigators found a significant reduction in the incidence of hearing loss in participants, ages 1 through 18, who were treated with cisplatin and sodium thiosulfate (29%) compared to those who received cisplatin alone (56%).

Overall, sodium thiosulfate treatment was found to be tolerated well without any serious adverse events, however, researchers say that additional investigation is needed to determine what role the it should have in preventing hearing loss in specific subsets of patients being treated with cisplatin chemotherapy.


Source: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Image courtesy Australian hearing


  1. I have both some hearing loss and some tinnitus. Can someone elaborate on the sodium sulfate clinical and therapy effects, the dosages and their duration found to be effective and which can be recommended?

    1. Hi Angelo,

      Thanks for your interest! As mentioned in the post, the study is published in the online edition of Lancet.

      For further details we would recommend possibly reaching out to the contact provided on the original Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles press release for this story (Ellin Kavanagh, ekavanagh@chla.usc.edu), who may be able to get you in touch with one of the investigators.

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