Permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia: case report and review of the literature

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Aug;63(2):333-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.06.063. Epub 2010 May 14.


Reversible alopecia following chemotherapy is well recognized and typically not evaluated by dermatologists. However, there are an increasing number of reports of permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia, typically following high-dose chemotherapy and subsequent bone marrow transplantation. We describe an unusual case of permanent alopecia in a patient who received adjuvant chemotherapy for breast carcinoma, and not a conditioning regimen before bone marrow transplantation. A unique histologic finding of replacement of anagen hair follicles by linear columns of basaloid epithelium is reported. We review the clinical and histologic findings of permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia and speculate on its pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alopecia / chemically induced*
  • Alopecia / pathology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma in Situ / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma in Situ / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Ductal / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal / surgery
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans