Pathobiology of chemotherapy-induced hair loss

    February 2013 in “The Lancet Oncology
    Ralf Paus, Iain S. Haslam, Andrey A. Sharov, Vladimir A. Botchkarev
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    TLDR Chemotherapy causes hair loss by damaging hair follicles and stem cells, with more research needed for prevention and treatment.
    The document from 2013 reviews the complex mechanisms behind chemotherapy-induced hair loss, emphasizing the role of p53-dependent apoptosis in hair-matrix keratinocytes and the importance of hair-follicle stem-cell damage in determining the reversibility of alopecia. It points out that anagen hair follicles are particularly sensitive to chemotherapy, leading to hair loss, while telogen follicles are less affected. The review also discusses the potential for pharmacological interventions to aid recovery, although current management is limited to supportive measures like scalp cooling and minoxidil for regrowth. The document stresses the need for better preclinical models, such as human scalp skin transplanted onto mice, to improve understanding and treatment of chemotherapy-induced alopecia. It concludes that more research, interdisciplinary efforts, and funding are essential to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies for this condition.
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