ARTICLE ABSTRACTCisplatin-induced hearing loss (CIHL) is common and permanent. As compared with earlier otoprotectants, we hypothesized N-acetylcysteine (NAC) offers potential for stronger otoprotection through stimulation of glutathione (GSH) production. This study tested the optimal dose, safety, and efficacy of NAC to prevent CIHL.
In this nonrandomized, controlled phase Ia/Ib trial, children and adolescents newly diagnosed with nonmetastatic, cisplatin-treated tumors received NAC intravenously 4 hours post-cisplatin. The trial performed dose-escalation across three dose levels to establish a safe dose that exceeded the targeted peak serum NAC concentration of 1.5 mmol/L (as identified from preclinical models). Patients with metastatic disease or who were otherwise ineligible were enrolled in an observation-only/control arm. To evaluate efficacy, serial age-appropriate audiology assessments were performed. Integrated biology examined genes involved in GSH metabolism and post-NAC GSH concentrations.
Of 52 patients enrolled, 24 received NAC and 28 were in the control arm. The maximum tolerated dose was not reached; analysis of peak NAC concentration identified 450 mg/kg as the recommended phase II dose (RP2D). Infusion-related reactions were common. No severe adverse events occurred. Compared with the control arm, NAC decreased likelihood of CIHL at the end of cisplatin therapy [OR, 0.13; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.021–0.847; P = 0.033] and recommendations for hearing intervention at end of study (OR, 0.082; 95% CI, 0.011–0.60; P = 0.014). NAC increased GSH; GSTP1 influenced risk for CIHL and NAC otoprotection.
NAC was safe at the RP2D, with strong evidence for efficacy to prevent CIHL, warranting further development as a next-generation otoprotectant.