Genetic Variation Could Prompt Hearing Loss in Young Cancer Patients on Cisplatin

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have discovered inherited genetic variations associated with rapid hearing loss in young cancer patients treated with the drug cisplatin, as published in Nature Genetics.

Cisplatin is one of the most widely used anti-cancer drugs and is a mainstay of treatment for children and adults with many types of brain and other solid tumors. But in some patients the drug causes debilitating side effects, including severe hearing loss. The risk factors involved are not completely understood. "Even for children receiving uniform therapy, there is substantial variability in their hearing damage after cisplatin treatment, and we suspect this has to do with differences in patients' genetic make-up," said co-corresponding author Jun J. Yang, Ph.D., an assistant member of the St. Jude Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Researchers checked the DNA of 238 young brain tumor patients for more than 1.7 million common genetic variations. Variations in a gene named ACYP2 were associated with as much as a four-fold greater risk of cisplatin-related hearing loss. The screening is among the first to survey the genetic landscape for clues to help explain why the risk of cisplatin-related hearing loss varies so widely among patients. St. Jude is a leader in research to improve medication safety and effectiveness. Its research aims to understand how inherited genetic variations affect the way individuals metabolize and respond to drugs.

Read the complete report on ScienceDaily: http://bit.ly/1zstrZF