What We’re Studying

The Platinum Study hopes to better understand the long-term toxicities of ototoxicity and neurotoxicity—and in the future, develop interventions to help treat and prevent these side effects in patients who receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy for germ cell tumors.

More than 2,000 testicular cancer survivors in three countries are enrolled in the study, with a median age of 37. As patients age, researchers intend to continue following their health changes for the rest of their lives.

A key focus is now susceptibility to age-related hearing loss. For the first time, investigators are evaluating the impact and severity of the hearing loss and tinnitus on survivors’ physical, emotional, and social functioning.

An internationally recognized expert on survivorship, Lois B. Travis, MD, ScD, leads an international team of experts in oncology, neurology, hearing science, cardiology, statistical genetics, pharmacogenomics, and other fields. 

Also leading the team is Dr. Einhorn, who remains the international expert on testicular cancer and continues to inspire and mentor generations of cancer researchers. 

The co-investigators and coordinators of the Platinum Study represent a global consortium of researchers from top cancer centers around the world.

The goal is to follow this cohort for many decades to characterize the longitudinal trajectory of toxicities related to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Lois B. Travis, MD, ScD — Principal Investigator

To date, the Platinum Study Group has published 21 papers, including five in the high-impact Journal of Clinical Oncology. We’ve also presented 30 abstracts to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Human Genetics, and other associations and symposiums.

A key discovery: We found that a mutation in a specific gene was related to hearing loss, and this showed a significant interaction with cisplatin dose, thus having potential clinical impact to predict susceptibility.

Additional highlights of our numerous findings include:

  • Hearing loss at many frequencies is linked to the total dose of cisplatin a patient receives.
  • Variants in the gene WFS 1 are associated with cisplatin-related hearing loss, although this is a polygenic trait.  
  • A possible variant in a gene which helps repair damage to sensory cells caused by cisplatin, leading to pain, tingling or numbness in the extremities.
  • A possible variant in a gene that would protect some patients against cisplatin-associated ringing in the ears.
  • 38 percent of the survivors had more than three adverse health outcomes, such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more.


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