Scalp Cooling Works Well Enough to Halt Comparative Hair Loss, Says Study

Researchers at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium say Paxman scalp-cooling system helped prevent hair loss in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.


Scalp cooling technology lowers the temperature of the scalp, which reduces blood flow to hair follicles. In so doing it is thought that the damage that chemotherapy causes to the hair follicle can be alleviated. By reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy, this in turn reduces the blood flow to hair follicles thereby preventing or minimizing the hair loss.

UK specialist company Paxman’s scalp cooling system features a “cold cap” that is fitted to a patient’s head during chemotherapy.

Earlier this year Paxman was touting a German study which concluded that scalp cooling is a safe, feasible and an effective treatment in the prevention of chemotherapy induced alopecia (CIA).

Newly reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2016, is a U.S. study, the Scalp Cooling Alopecia Prevention (SCALP) Trial, which enrolled 235 women at seven U.S. medical centers. The women had stage 1 or 2 breast cancer and were scheduled to receive at least four rounds of chemo with anthracycline or taxane, which are known to cause hair loss.

Patients were randomly assigned to either scalp-cooling with the still-experimental Orbis Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System (OPHLPS) or no scalp cooling. Cooling was done 30 minutes before, during, and for 90 minutes after chemotherapy sessions.

The good news for Paxman in its quest to gain U.S. FDA clearance, is that such were the superior results with the scalp-cooling device, the research team’s safety monitors decided to stop the study and release the data.

At that point, 95 patients in the cooling group and 47 patients in the non-cooling group had completed four cycles of chemotherapy. Forty-eight patients in the cooling group (50.5 percent) retained their hair, compared with none of the patients in the no-cooling group.

Side effects were mild and included headache, nausea and dizziness, reported lead author Dr. Julie Rani Nangia of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Most of the patients rated the cooling device as reasonably comfortable and very few found the scalp cooling device uncomfortable.

The women in the SCALP trial will be followed for five years to monitor overall survival, recurrence of cancer and potential metastasis to the scalp.

Investigator comments

“Scalp cooling devices are highly effective and should become available to women with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy,” said Dr Nangia during a media briefing.

Source: Reuters.

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