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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 79

of 'Chemotherapy-induced alopecia'

Prevention of chemotherapy-induced hair loss by scalp cooling.
Grevelman EG, Breed WP
Ann Oncol. 2005 Mar;16(3):352-8. Epub 2005 January 10.
BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy-induced temporary hair loss is one of the most common and distressing side-effects of cancer therapy. Scalp cooling to reduce this hair loss is a controversial issue for many doctors and nurses. This may be due to inadequate knowledge.
METHODS: This review from 53 publications and three personal communications focuses on the efficacy of the treatment, side-effects, possible disadvantages and the controversies in these areas.
RESULTS: Scalp cooling has become an increasingly effective method to prevent hair loss, especially when anthracyclines or taxanes are used. Unfortunately, many studies were small and badly designed and are therefore difficult to compare. There is a considerable variation in the success rates in the various studies. This remains unexplained, but the cooling time, the chemotherapy used and the temperature seem to be influential. Scalp cooling should not be used if chemotherapy is given with a curative intent in patients with generalised haematogenic metastases. The majority of patients tolerate cooling very well.
CONCLUSION: Scalp cooling is effective but not for all chemotherapy patients. Further psychological, clinical and biophysical research is needed to determine exact indications for cooling and to improve the effect, tolerance, side-effects and the cooling procedure. Multicentre trials should be carried out to gather this information.
University of Maastricht, Nassaulaan 11a, 6224 JT Maastricht, the Netherlands.