The following article features coverage from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Chemotherapy-induced hair loss can be an emotionally distressing adverse effect for patients with breast cancer. However, scalp cooling with the DigniCap system was proven to effectively mitigate hair loss, according to the results of a single-center prospective trial presented at ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

The study included 158 women (median age, 49 years) with early stage breast cancer who received anthracycline and/or taxane-based treatment at the Brindisi Oncology Department from February 2016 through January 2019. The success of scalp cooling and hair preservation was determined according to the Dean’s scale.

A total of 37 (23.4%) patients who used the scalp cooling system experienced full hair preservation with zero hair loss. Forty-seven (29.7%) patients experienced hair loss of less than 25%, and 31 patients (19.6%) experienced 25% to 50% hair loss. Associated adverse effects included a sense of coldness (81.6%), neck pain (52.2%), and headache (71.5%). A total of 23 patients discontinued use of scalp cooling: 12 (8.4%) due to cold discomfort and 11 (7%) due to unsatisfactory hair preservation.

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Interestingly, in patients with 50% or more hair loss, continued use of scalp cooling was associated with observed hair growth. “Our results confirmed and reinforced previous evidences, showing that the DigniCap system has a good chance to prevent [hair loss] during chemotherapy with anthracycline and/or taxane-based regimen and supported the wider use to all women with early stage breast cancer,” the researchers concluded.


Loparco D, Orlando L, Caloro M, et al. Final results of scalp cooling for hair preservation: a single-institution prospective study. Presented at: ESMO Congress 2019; September 27-October 1, 2019; Barcelona, Spain. Abstract 201P.