Endocrine Therapy–Induced Alopecia in Patients With Breast Cancer

    June 2018 in “ JAMA Dermatology
    Azael Freites-Martínez, Jerry Shapiro, Donald Chan, Monica Fornier, Shanu Modi, Devika Gajria, Stephen W. Dusza, Shari Goldfarb, Mario E. Lacouture
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    TLDR Hair loss from hormone therapy in breast cancer patients can be improved with minoxidil treatment.
    The study examined 112 female breast cancer patients with a median age of 60 who developed endocrine therapy-induced alopecia (EIA) between 2009 and 2016. It found that the alopecia, which was mostly mild and resembled androgenetic alopecia, was primarily caused by aromatase inhibitors (67%) and tamoxifen (33%). The condition significantly affected the patients' quality of life, particularly emotionally, with a mean score of 41.8 out of 100. Treatment with topical minoxidil 5% led to moderate or significant improvement in 80% of the 46 patients evaluated. The study suggests that EIA may be physiologically similar to androgenetic alopecia and that patients with EIA might benefit from treatments like minoxidil and potentially spironolactone. However, further randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings. Despite its retrospective nature and the limited number of patients, the study highlights the importance of addressing EIA in supportive cancer care.
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