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Longitudinal assessment of air conduction audiograms in a phase III clinical trial of difluoromethylornithine and sulindac for prevention of sporadic colorectal adenomas.


A phase III clinical trial assessed the recurrence of adenomatous polyps after treatment for 36 months with difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) plus sulindac or matched placebos. Temporary hearing loss is a known toxicity of treatment with DFMO, thus a comprehensive approach was developed to analyze serial air conduction audiograms. The generalized estimating equation method estimated the mean difference between treatment arms with regard to change in air conduction pure tone thresholds while accounting for within-subject correlation due to repeated measurements at frequencies. Based on 290 subjects, there was an average difference of 0.50 dB between subjects treated with DFMO plus sulindac compared with those treated with placebo (95% confidence interval, -0.64 to 1.63 dB; P = 0.39), adjusted for baseline values, age, and frequencies. In the normal speech range of 500 to 3,000 Hz, an estimated difference of 0.99 dB (-0.17 to 2.14 dB; P = 0.09) was detected. Dose intensity did not add information to models. There were 14 of 151 (9.3%) in the DFMO plus sulindac group and 4 of 139 (2.9%) in the placebo group who experienced at least 15 dB hearing reduction from baseline in 2 or more consecutive frequencies across the entire range tested (P = 0.02). Follow-up air conduction done at least 6 months after end of treatment showed an adjusted mean difference in hearing thresholds of 1.08 dB (-0.81 to 2.96 dB; P = 0.26) between treatment arms. There was no significant difference in the proportion of subjects in the DFMO plus sulindac group who experienced clinically significant hearing loss compared with the placebo group. The estimated attributable risk of ototoxicity from exposure to the drug is 8.4% (95% confidence interval, -2.0% to 18.8%; P = 0.12). There is a <2 dB difference in mean threshold for patients treated with DFMO plus sulindac compared with those treated with placebo.

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