Intensity-modulated radiation therapy for pediatric medulloblastoma: Early report on the reduction of ototoxicity

Eugene Huang, Bin S. Teh, Douglas R. Strother, Quillin G. Davis, J. Kam Chiu, Hsin H. Lu, L. Steven Carpenter, Wei Yuan Mai, Murali Chintagumpala, Michael South, Walter H. Grant, Edward Brian Butler, Shiao Y. Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Purpose: The combination of cisplatin chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the treatment of medulloblastoma has been shown to cause significant ototoxicity, impairing a child's cognitive function and quality of life. Our purpose is to determine whether the new conformal technique of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) can achieve lower rates of hearing loss by decreasing the radiation dose delivered to the cochlea and eighth cranial nerve (auditory apparatus). Patients and Methods: Twenty-six pediatric patients treated for medulloblastoma were retrospectively divided into two groups that received either conventional radiotherapy (Conventional-RT Group) or IMRT (IMRT Group). One hundred thirteen pure-tone audiograms were evaluated retrospectively, and hearing function was graded on a scale of 0 to 4 according to the Pediatric Oncology Group's toxicity criteria. Statistical analysis comparing the rates of ototoxicity was performed using Fisher's exact test with two-tailed analysis. Results: When compared to conventional radiotherapy, IMRT delivered 68% of the radiation dose to the auditory apparatus (mean dose: 36.7 vs. 54.2 Gy). Audiometric evaluation showed that mean decibel hearing thresholds of the IMRT Group were lower at every frequency compared to those of the Conventional-RT Group, despite having higher cumulative doses of cisplatin. The overall incidence of ototoxicity was lower in the IMRT Group. Thirteen percent of the IMRT Group had Grade 3 or 4 hearing loss, compared to 64% of the Conventional-RT Group (p < 0.014). Conclusion: The conformal technique of IMRT delivered much lower doses of radiation to the auditory apparatus, while still delivering full doses to the desired target volume. Our findings suggest that, despite higher doses of cisplatin, and despite radiotherapy before cisplatin therapy, treatment with IMRT can achieve a lower rate of hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2002


  • Cisplatin
  • Hearing loss
  • IMRT
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Ototoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


Dive into the research topics of 'Intensity-modulated radiation therapy for pediatric medulloblastoma: Early report on the reduction of ototoxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this