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Immune checkpoint inhibitor-related hearing loss appears reversible

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Most cases of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs)-related hearing loss are reversible, occur primarily in patients with melanoma, are often accompanied by other immune-related adverse events, and show a high response rate to immune checkpoint inhibitors, according to a study.

With the increasing use of these inhibitors, especially in earlier treatment lines and adjuvant settings, the incidence of ICI-related hearing loss is expected to rise, highlighting the need for further research to accurately define its prevalence and establish optimal diagnostic and management protocols.

In a cohort of 38 patients, with most patients having melanoma (73.7%), the onset of hearing loss occurred at a median of 3 months following the initiation of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Among the observed cases, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) emerged as the predominant form of impairment, affecting 68.6% of patients. It was also noted that 24 patients experienced 1 other immune-related adverse event alongside the hearing loss.

The study reported that almost half of the patients (45.7%) experienced significant improvements in their hearing. The overall response rate to immune checkpoint inhibitors was 67.6%, while the disease control rate was 85.3%.

Guven DC, Erul E, Kaygusuz Y, et al. Immune checkpoint inhibitor-related hearing loss: a systematic review and analysis of individual patient data. Support Care Cancer. 2023;31(12):624. doi: 10.1007/s00520-023-08083-w. PMID: 37819422.