Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial to see if aspirin can reduce hearing loss caused by cisplatin (COAST)
This trial looked at whether aspirin can reduce hearing loss in people having cisplatin for the first time.
Cancer Research UK supported this trial.
More about this trial
Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug used to treat different types of cancer.
All chemotherapy drugs have side effects and a common effect from cisplatin is hearing loss. This happens to some degree in about half the people who have this drug.
We know from laboratory research that aspirin may be able to reduce hearing loss caused by cisplatin. But doctors wanted to find out for sure.
The aim of this trial was to see if taking aspirin each time you have cisplatin helps to reduce hearing loss.
Summary of results
The study team concluded that aspirin does not help to reduce hearing loss caused by cisplatin.
This was a phase 2 trial. 94 people who were going to have cisplatin for the first time took part. There were:
- 23 people with bladder cancer
- 12 people with germ cell tumour
- 35 people with head and neck cancer
- 24 people with lung cancer
This was a randomised trial. Everyone was put into 1 of the following treatment groups by computer:
- aspirin and omeprazole
- dummy drug (
Neither they nor their doctor could choose which group they were in. And neither they nor their doctor knew which treatment they were having. This was a double blind trial.
The team looked at the number of people that took part in each group:
- 45 people took part in the aspirin and omeprazole group
- 49 people took part in the dummy drug group
Everyone had aspirin or a dummy drug for 4 to 5 days, each time they had cisplatin.
The study team then compared people’s hearing before and after treatment with cisplatin. They found that the hearing loss after treatment was the same for both groups.
They also found that:
- people who had the best hearing before treatment were the ones with the biggest hearing loss after cisplatin
- women had bigger hearing loss than men
- people who had cisplatin as a treatment for head and neck cancer had bigger hearing loss than people who had cisplatin for other types of cancer
- hearing loss was the same for all ages
- there was no major side effects from aspirin
The trial team concluded that aspirin does not help to reduce hearing loss caused by treatment with cisplatin.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Emma King
Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
University of Southampton
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/11/047.