A multicenter survey of temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients

Takanori Watanabe, Hiroshi Yagata, Mitsue Saito, Hiroko Okada, Tamiko Yajima, Nao Tamai, Yuko Yoshida, Tomoko Takayama, Hirohisa Imai, Keiko Nozawa, Takafumi Sangai, Akiyo Yoshimura, Yoshie Hasegawa, Takuhiro Yamaguchi, Kojiro Shimozuma, Yasuo Ohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose Many breast cancer patients suffer from chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Accurate information about temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss is important for supporting patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy, because it helps them to prepare. However, accurate information, on issues such as the frequency of hair loss after chemotherapy, when regrowth starts, the condition of regrown hair, and the frequency of incomplete hair regrowth, is lacking. This study aimed to clarify the long-term temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss using patient-reported outcomes for chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Methods We conducted a multicenter, cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Disease-free patients who had completed adjuvant chemotherapy consisting of anthracycline and/or taxanes for breast cancer within the prior 5 years were enrolled from 47 hospitals and clinics in Japan. Descriptive statistics were obtained in this study. The study is reported according to the STROBE criteria. Results The response rate was 81.5% (1511/1853), yielding 1478 questionnaires. Hair loss occurred in 99.9% of patients. The mean time from chemotherapy until hair loss was 18.0 days. Regrowth of scalp hair occurred in 98% of patients. The mean time from the completion of chemotherapy to the beginning of regrowth was 3.3 months. Two years after chemotherapy completion, the scalp-hair recovery rate was <30% in approximately 4% of patients, and this rate showed no improvement 5 years after chemotherapy. Eighty-four percent of the patients initially used wigs, decreasing to 47% by 1 year after chemotherapy and 15.2% after 2 years. The mean period of wig use was 12.5 months. However, a few patients were still using wigs 5 years after completing chemotherapy. Conclusions Our survey focused on chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients. We believe these results to be useful for patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0208118
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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