A 20-minute post-infusion cooling time is effective and tolerable for patients treated with scalp cooling to prevent docetaxel-induced alopecia in patients with cancer, a study published online ahead of print in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer has shown.1

For patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, chemotherapy-induced alopecia can be one of the most distressing adverse reactions to treatment.

Scalp cooling can minimize or prevent chemotherapy-induced alopecia, but the optimal time of cooling is not clear. Because a previous study on post-infusion cooling time in patients treated with docetaxel demonstrated no difference between 90 and 45 minutes, researchers sought to determine if a postinfusion cooling time of less than 45 minutes could be effective.

For the multicenter, prospective study, investigators enrolled 134 patients who initiated treatment with docetaxel 75 to 100 mg/m2 intravenously in 3-weekly cycles. Participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive post-infusion scalp cooling for 45 minutes or 20 minutes.

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Researchers found that scalp cooling results were similar between the 2 groups. A total of 73% of patients treated with 20 minutes of cooling did not require a form of head covering compared with 79% of those treated with 45 minutes of postinfusion cooling (P=.5).

The study also demonstrated that the procedure was well tolerated, with only 6 patients discontinuing scalp cooling due to intolerance during the first cycle of chemotherapy.


1. Komen MMC, Breed MPM, Smorenburg CH, et al. Results of 20- versus 45-min post-infusion scalp cooling time in the prevention of docetaxel-induced alopecia [published online ahead of print January 25, 2016]. Supp Care Cancer. doi:10.1007/s00520-016-3084-7.