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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 87

of 'Chemotherapy-induced alopecia'

Scalp cooling to prevent alopecia after chemotherapy can be considered safe in patients with breast cancer.
van den Hurk CJ, van de Poll-Franse LV, Breed WP, Coebergh JW, Nortier JW
Breast. 2013;22(5):1001.
With modern scalp cooling equipment cytotoxic damage of hair root cells can be prevented in half of the patients with cancer at high risk of alopecia. However, traditionally doubt has existed whether scalp cooling might facilitate hiding and disseminating scalp skin metastases and thus decrease survival. We discuss this risk using frequency data on metastases in breast cancer from observational and autopsy studies and the Munich cancer registry. They showed the incidence of scalp skin metastases to be very low and not differ between scalp-cooled (0.04-1%) and non scalp-cooled (0.03-3%) patients with breast cancer and in need of chemotherapy. We found it rather unlikely that the incidence of scalp skin metastases might increase at all after scalp cooling, whereas a very small proportion of patients receiving chemotherapy are at risk to develop metastases at this site. Scalp cooling can thus safely be offered to patients treated with alopecia-inducing chemotherapy.
Research Department, Eindhoven Cancer Registry/Comprehensive Cancer Centre South, PO Box 231, 5600 Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Electronic address: C.v.d.hurk@ikz.nl.