Dunnill, Christopher, Al-Tameemi, Wafaa, Collett, Andrew, Haslam, Iain S. and Georgopoulos, Nikolaos T. (2017) A Clinical and Biological Guide for Understanding Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia and its Prevention. The Oncologist. ISSN 1083-7159

Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is the most visibly distressing side effect of commonly administered chemotherapeutic agents. As psychological health has huge relevance on lifestyle, diet and self-esteem, it is important for clinicians to fully appreciate the psychological burden that CIA can place on patients. Here, for the first time, we provide a comprehensive review encompassing the molecular characteristics of the human hair follicle (HF), how different anticancer agents damage the HF to cause CIA, subsequent HF pathophysiology and we assess known and emerging prevention modalities that have aimed to reduce or prevent CIA. We argue that, at present, scalp cooling is the only safe and FDA-cleared modality available, and we highlight the extensive available clinical and experimental (biological) evidence for its efficacy. The likelihood of a patient that uses scalp cooling during chemotherapy maintaining enough hair to not require a wig is approximately 50%. This is despite different types of chemotherapy regimens, patient-specific differences and possible lack of staff experience in effectively delivering scalp cooling. The increased use of scalp cooling and an understanding of how to deliver it most effectively to patients has enormous potential to ease the psychological burden of CIA, until other, more efficacious, equally safe treatments become available.

Dunnill et al_TO-17-263_R1_MS_In Press version_Implications redone for Proofs.pdf - Accepted Version

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