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Scalp-Cooling System Prevents Hair Loss From Chemo in Breast Cancer Patients | Breast Cancer Arabia
  • Scalp-Cooling System Prevents Hair Loss From Chemo in Breast Cancer Patients

    Scalp-Cooling System Prevents Hair Loss From Chemo in Breast Cancer Patients

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Cooling the scalp before, during, and shortly after chemotherapy infusion significantly reduces hair loss in breast cancer patients, according to new findings presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago.
     

    Scalp hypothermia, defined as 50% hair loss or less, was successful in 70.3% of the treated women, while 94% of the control group lost more than 75% of their hair.
     

    The study evaluated the DigniCap system, made by Lund, Sweden-based Dignitana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the DigniCap but authorized its use for a pilot trial and subsequent pivotal trial led by Dr. Hope Rugo of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Dr. Rugo presented the findings in the afternoon of May 30 at a poster session at the ASCO meeting.
     

    The device consists of a cooling and control unit and a cap the patient wears. Coolant circulates between the control unit and the cap.
     

    The pilot study included 20 patients with stage 1 breast cancer. The new study included 101 patients with stage 1 or 2 breast cancer who used the DigniCap System, and 16 patients who did not want to use it and served as a control group. The researchers excluded patients on sequential anthracycline/taxane regimens.
     

    The primary endpoint was patients’ rating of efficacy based on five different head photographs taken before and one month after chemotherapy ended.
     

    Just over three-quarters of patients were on docetaxel/cyclophosphamide, while 12% were on docetaxel/carboplatin and 12% were on weekly paclitaxel.
     

    Seventy-one of the women treated rated their treatment a success (70.3%, p<0.001) versus none of the women in the control group. Thirty-nine of the patients who used the DigniCap had minimal or no hair loss. Toxicity included headache, pruritis, and discomfort, and three patients stopped using scalp cooling due to feeling cold.  

    In a telephone interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Rugo said that the FDA is currently evaluating the trial results, and she expects the DigniCap will be approved in a few months. It could be useful for patients with other types of cancer, she added, including women with ovarian cancer and even men on certain types of chemotherapy.
     

    Dr. Rugo noted that she had been skeptical of scalp cooling, given the conventional wisdom that it could increase the risk of scalp metastases. “There’s actually no evidence to suggest that there’s an increase in recurrence,” she said. “Scalp cooling has no impact on survival. This work that we did initially made me feel a lot better about it.”
     

    Am Soc Clin Oncol 2015.
     
     
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