Two percent topical minoxidil is the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for the treatment of female androgenetic alopecia (AGA). Its success has been limited by the low percentage of responders. Meta-analysis of several studies reporting the number of responders to 2% minoxidil monotherapy indicates moderate hair regrowth in only 13-20% of female patients. Five percent minoxidil solution, when used off-label, may increase the percentage of responders to as much as 40%. As such, a biomarker for predicting treatment response would have significant clinical utility. In a previous study, Goren et al. reported an association between sulfotransferase activity in plucked hair follicles and minoxidil response in a mixed cohort of male and female patients. The aim of this study was to replicate these findings in a well-defined cohort of female patients with AGA treated with 5% minoxidil daily for a period of 6 months. Consistent with the prior study, we found that sulfotransferase activity in plucked hair follicles predicts treatment response with 93% sensitivity and 83% specificity. Our study further supports the importance of minoxidil sulfation in eliciting a therapeutic response and provides further insight into novel targets for increasing minoxidil efficacy.
Keywords: androgenetic alopecia; minoxidil; sulfotransferase.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.