The use of minoxidil to attempt to prevent alopecia during chemotherapy for gynecologic malignancies

Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 1991;12(2):129-32.


Minoxidil 2% topical solution applied twice a day is known to induce hair growth and prevent hair loss in normal male pattern baldness. Based on this potential, this pilot study tested the effect of Minoxidil on hair loss during chemotherapy for gynecologic cancers. Ten women about to start alopecia-inducing chemotherapy protocols were entered into this non-randomized prospective trial. By study design, each patient served as her own control, as only a portion of the scalp was treated with Minoxidil. Four of the ten patients were unevaluable for failing to comply with the twice-a-day Minoxidil application schedule. Of the six evaluable patients, five experienced complete or severe symmetrically diffuse hair loss, all of which occurred within four weeks of initiating chemotherapy. One patient had no hair loss in either the treatment or control area. Application of the topical Minoxidil in all ten patients had no untoward side effects, skin changes or hypotension. Thus, in this pilot study, 2% Minoxidil was non-toxic but showed no benefit in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Alopecia / chemically induced
  • Alopecia / prevention & control*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Minoxidil / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies


  • Minoxidil
  • Doxorubicin