Current Otorhinolaryngology Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 15–23 | Cite as

The Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNFα) in Hearing Loss and Vestibular Schwannomas

  • Yin Ren
  • Konstantina M. Stankovic
Otology (A Vambutas, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Otology


Purpose of Review

The aim of this review is to highlight relevant literature on the role of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and vestibular schwannomas (VS).

Recent Findings

A comprehensive review of publically available databases including PubMed was performed. The mechanism by which hearing loss occurs in VS is still unknown and likely multifactorial. Genetic differences between VSs and tumor-secreted proteins may be responsible, at least in part, for VS-associated SNHL. TNFα has pleotropic roles in promoting inflammation, maintaining cellular homeostasis, inducing apoptosis, and mediating ototoxicity in patients with sporadic VS. TNFα-targeted therapies have shown efficacy in both animal models of sensorineural hearing loss and clinical trials in patients with immune-mediated hearing loss. Efforts are underway to develop nanotechnology-based methods to target TNFα and other pathogenic molecules in VS.


Development of molecularly targeted therapies against TNFα represents an important area of research in ameliorating VS-associated hearing loss.


TNF alpha TNFα vestibular schwannoma Nanotechnology Inflammation Hearing loss 



This work was supported by the CORE grant from American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and the New England Otolaryngological Society research grant (Y.R.), NIH/NIDCD grant R01DC015824 (K.M.S.), the Bertarelli Foundation (K.M.S.), Nancy Sayles Day Foundation (K.M.S.), and the Lauer Tinnitus Research Center (K.M.S.).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OtolaryngologyMassachusetts Eye and EarBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Eaton Peabody LaboratoriesMassachusetts Eye and EarBostonUSA
  4. 4.Harvard Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and TechnologyBostonUSA

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