Cold Cap Study: Long-Term Results
I am very pleased to provide the long-term safety results for our ‘Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) study”. Our journey with this research initiative began in 2015, and we initially shared our findings in a 2018 publication in The Breast Journal, available on the BCRC-WA website.
In our study, which enrolled 60 patients, we discovered that the effectiveness of using the cold cap to prevent total hair loss during chemotherapy varied depending on the specific chemotherapy drugs administered.
Success rates ranged from 20% to 45%. This information can now be used by women to decide whether they wish to use the machine during receipt of their chemotherapy or not, based on the anticipated success rate for the type of chemotherapy they are receiving.
Our study showed that levels of anxiety were significantly reduced at the end of chemotherapy in those patients who experienced minimal hair loss as a result of wearing the cold cap. Overall, patients were very satisfied with the use of the cold cap (81%) with the majority of these women stating that they would use the cold cap device again if ever had to receive chemotherapy again.
One of our study’s secondary objectives was to assess the safety of the cold cap. Initial concerns, dating back two decades, questioned whether using the cold cap might elevate the risk of scalp or even brain metastases (secondary breast cancer). I am pleased to report that after nearly seven years of follow-up, we found no cases of scalp metastases.
Additionally, when compared to a group of 186 breast cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy during the same timeframe, there was no significant difference in the incidence of brain metastases.
These final results from our study not only provide compelling scientific evidence supporting the safety of the cold cap for women seeking to preserve their hair during chemotherapy but also offer insight into the likelihood of success when a specific chemotherapy regimen is recommended.
We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge base in this field and offer hope and choice to women facing the challenges of chemotherapy-induced alopecia.
Professor Arlene Chan
AM, MBBS, FRACP, MMed Adjunct, School of Medicine, Curtin University, Director Breast Clinical Trials Unit, Hollywood Private Hospital, Deputy Chairperson of Breast Cancer Research Centre-WA