A case-control study of Panicum Miliaceum in the treatment of cancer chemotherapy-induced alopecia

Minerva Med. 2007 Dec;98(6):661-4.


Aim: Alopecia still remains one of the most untreatable side-effects induced by cancer chemotherapy. According to the phytotherapeutic tradition, Panicum Miliaceum has been proven to be effective in the prevention of hair loss for different reasons. At present, however, there are no data about its possible efficacy in the treatment of cancer chemotherapy-induce alopecia. The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy of Panicum Miliaceum in cancer patients treated with the most potent chemotherapeutic drugs in terms of hair loss, consisting of cisplatin (CDDP) and anthracyclines.

Methods: This case-control study included 28 cancer patients concomitantly treated with Panicum Miliaceum and 56 patients receiving the same combinations of chemotherapy alone as a control group. Panicum Miliaceum was given orally at 300 mg (daily dose) 3 times per day, every day until the end of chemotherapy. The grade of hair loss was assessed by World Health Organization (WHO) criteria.

Results: The percentage of alopecia of third grade observed in patients concomitantly treated with Panicum Miliaceum in association with CDDP-containing regimens was significantly lower than that found in those who received the chemotherapy only. The percentage was also lower under anthracycline-containing schedules, without, however, statistically significant differences. Panicum Miliaceum therapy was substantially well tolerated in all patients.

Results: This preliminary study would suggest that the concomitant treatment with Panicum Miliaceum may be effective in preventing hair loss induced by CDDP-containing chemotherapies, whereas the benefit was lower in patients treated with anthracyclines. Future randomized studies will be necessary to confirm these preliminary

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alopecia / chemically induced
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Anthracyclines / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Panicum*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin