Association Between ABCB1 Genetic Variants and Persistent Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia in Women With Breast Cancer

This genome-wide association study in 215 women treated with docetaxel-based therapies found genetic variants in ABCB1 gene that were significantly linked to risk of developing persistent chemotherapy-induced alopecia, a finding replicated in an independent cohort.

SPS commentary:

Also published in the journal is a cohort study in 71 children and adults, with cancer who underwent cranial radiotherapy, which noted that severe alopecia was associated with greater scalp radiation dose and proton irradiation. It also found that alopecia improvement was observed in 82% of patients treated with topical minoxidil, 5%, solution and 100% of patients treated surgically.


An editorial hopes that the findings from these studies will encourage attempts to develop and evaluate novel preventive therapeutic measures for persistent chemotherapy-induced alopecia (e.g. topical agents capable of modulating P-glycoprotein expression in the scalp during chemotherapy). It adds that if such new treatments are proven to be effective, they would markedly increase the quality of life for patients with cancer by alleviating the psychological distress caused by this adverse drug-related effect.


JAMA Dermatology

Resource links:

Radiation-Induced Alopecia study