Targeted Therapies Associated With Increased Alopecia Risk

Share this content:
Targeted therapies are associated with an increased risk of alopecia.
Targeted therapies are associated with an increased risk of alopecia.

Targeted therapies are associated with an increased risk of alopecia, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Annals of Oncology has shown.1

The use of molecularly targeted anticancer therapies has grown rapidly in the last decade, but these agents are often associated with dermatologic adverse events and alopecia. Because the true incidence of alopecia is not known, a team of researchers led by Mario E. Lacouture, MD, Director of the Oncodermatology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City sought to evaluate the incidence and risk of developing alopecia during treatment with approved molecularly targeted agents.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from clinical trials of approved inhibitors of oncogenic pathways and molecules (ALK, Bcr-abl, BRAF, BTK, CTLA-4, EGFR, HER2, JAK, MEK, mTOR, SMO, VEGF, VEGFR, PDGFR; proteasomes; CD20, CD30, CD52) that reported alopecia.

Results showed that the calculated overall incidence of all-grade alopecia was 14.7% (95% CI: 12.6, 17.2). Researchers found that the highest incidence was with vismodegib (56%; 95% CI: 50.5, 63.1), the Hedgehog signaling pathway targeting agent used to treat basal-cell carcinoma, and the lowest was with bortezomib (2.2%; 95% CI: 0.4, 10.9).

RELATED: High PARP1 Activity, Low PDXK Expression May Signal Poor Prognosis

The study demonstrated an increased risk of all-grade alopecia compared with placebo (P≤0.01), but a reduced risk when compared with chemotherapy (P≤0.01).


  1. Belum VR, Marulanda K, Ensslin C, et al. Alopecia in patients treated with molecularly targeted anticancer therapies [published online ahead of print September 19, 2015]. Ann Oncol. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv390.

Related Resources

You must be a registered member of Cancer Therapy Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Prostate Cancer Regimens Drugs
Rare Cancers Regimens
Renal Cell Carcinoma Regimens Drugs
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs
Urologic Cancers Regimens Drugs