Two major clinical trials sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis have concluded that Taxotere is associated with a 3-9% risk of permanent hair loss when administered in combination with other chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer.
These studies investigated the TAC chemotherapy regimen, which combines Taxotere, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), and Cyclophosphamide.
Outcomes were compared to patients on chemotherapy drugs that did not include Taxotere — FAC chemotherapy, which combines Fluorouracil, Adriamycin, and Cyclophosphamide).
Clinical trials linking Taxotere and permanent hair loss:
- TAX316 investigated the risk of hair loss in 744 women with breast cancer who were given TAC and 736 women who were given FAC. After an 8-year follow-up period, hair loss persisted in 3.9% of women on TAC and 2.2% of women on FAC.
- GEICAM 9805 was a clinical trial that began in the 1990s. By 2005, 9.2% of patients (49 women) who received TAC had hair loss that persisted during the 10-year follow-up period, compared to 6.7% of women who received FAC.
Other clinical trials have investigated scalp-cooling to prevent alopecia (hair loss) in newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients. Researchers concluded that women who wear a device that cools the scalp during chemotherapy treatments may avoid hair loss. These so-called “cool caps” work by constricting blood vessels to the skin of the scalp, which reduces the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reaches hair follicles.
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