Radiation-induced Cochlea Hair Cell Death: Mechanisms and Protection

  • Tan, Pei-Xin (Department of Radiation Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University) ;
  • Du, Sha-Sha (Department of Radiation Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University) ;
  • Ren, Chen (Department of Radiation Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University) ;
  • Yao, Qi-Wei (Department of Radiation Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University) ;
  • Yuan, Ya-Wei (Department of Radiation Oncology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University)
  • Published : 2013.10.30


Cochlea hair cell death is regarded to be responsible for the radiation-induced sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which is one of the principal complications of radiotherapy (RT) for head and neck cancers. In this mini-review, we focus on the current progresses trying to unravel mechanisms of radiation-induced hair cell death and find out possible protection. P53, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways have been proposed as pivotal in the processes leading to radiation hair cell death. Potential protectants, such as amifostine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and epicatechin (EC), are claimed to be effective at reducing radiation-inducedhair cell death. The RT dosage, selection and application of concurrent chemotherapy should be pre-examined in order to minimize the damage to cochlea hair cells.


Radiotherapy;sensorineural hearing loss;ototoxicity;hair cell;apoptosis


Supported by : Natural Science Foundation of China


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