This Cancer Drug May Reduce Hearing Loss From Radiotherapy In Patients With Neurofibromatosis

According to a story from Medical Xpress, the addition of crizotinib with radiation therapy could help reduce hearing loss associated with the treatment in patients with neurofibromatosis II. Crizotinib is a targeted cancer therapy drug that is currently approved for use in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma, but the new data could ultimately mean that the drug’s approve uses could expand.

Neurofibromatosis is a condition in which tumors begin to grow in the body’s nervous system. There are three different types distinguished by the timing of the appearance of symptoms and where in the body that tumors begin to grow. In neurofibromatosis type II (NF2), symmetric tumors appear around the cranial nerve VIII. These tumors tend to affect both the eyes and hearing ability of the patient, and many patients tend to become deaf. Symptoms tend to appear later in life in NF2 when compared to the other types. Surgical removal of the tumors is often the most common procedure to treat this condition. It is caused by a genetic mutation. To learn more about neurofibromatosis, click here.

Deafness and hearing loss are the most problematic symptoms associated with NF2, but a major problem with effective treatment is that surgery and radiation therapy can both make hearing function even worse. The development of a reliable treatment that does not worsen hearing is a significant treatment need for the condition. Previous studies using the treatment bevacizumab seemed to improve hearing, but not all patients saw the benefit, and the improvement was only temporary.

The supplementation of crizotinib alongside radiation therapy saw a remarkable improvement in response to treatment. Crizotinib strengthened the mechanism of action of the radiation therapy by increasing damage to the tumor cell DNA. This caused a noticeably more pronounced reduction in the growth of the tumors. Dr. Lei Xu, one of the authors of the report, is optimistic that the new use for crizotinib could reach approval fairly quickly, since is not a brand new, experimental treatment and has already been released to the public. If this comes to pass, it will represent a significant advancement in treatment for patients with NF2.

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