Aspirin and Inner Ear Tumors: A Potential Therapeutic Role


November 22, 2016


Kandathil et al, 2016.: Correlation between Aspirin Intake and Reduced Growth of Human Vestibular Schwannoma


A Diagram of the Inner Ear Aspirin may inhibit the growth of vestibular schwannomas, benign tumors that develop from the balance and hearing nerves supplying the inner ear.

Vestibular schwannomas can potentially lead to dizziness, loss of balance, and loss of hearing. As they grow, they can also cause paralysis or numbness in the facial nerves, and can eventually put life-threatening pressure on the brain. Vestibular schwannomas can be removed or irradiated. However, surgery and radiation can damage nerves and tissue, and sometimes make the symptoms of the schwannoma worse. Less invasive treatments would have great value – aspirin appears to have promise in this area.

A study published in Otology and Neurotology evaluated the association between aspirin use and tumor inhibition using volumetric measurements and a quantified degree of hearing loss caused by the schwannomas. The study included patients diagnosed with sporadic vestibular schwannoma at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary from 1980 to 2012.

A significant inverse association was found among aspirin users and schwannoma growth. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic role for aspirin in treating vestibular schwannoma. A prospective clinical study is needed to determine whether nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin can prevent vestibular schwannoma growth. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug therapies to treat these tumors.