Efficacy of the DigniCap System in preventing chemotherapy-induced alopecia in breast cancer patients is not related to patient characteristics or side effects of the device

Background: The DigniCap System is an effective scalp cooling device for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced alopecia in early breast cancer patients.

Aim: This prospective study was designed to confirm the efficacy and tolerability of the device, to explore potential factors associated with its efficacy and to collect data on patient perceptions and satisfaction.

Methods: Between January 2016 and June 2018, 163 early breast cancer patients eligible for adjuvant chemotherapy were enrolled. Hair loss was assessed using the Dean scale, where a score of 0-2 (hair loss ≤50%) was defined as successful.

Results: Hair preservation was successful in 57% of patients in the overall series. The proportion was even higher (81%) in the patient subgroup treated with a paclitaxel and trastuzumab regimen. Side effects (feeling cold, headache, head heaviness, scalp and cervical pain) were mild to moderate and did not correlate with the rate of hair loss. Lifestyle, anthropometric factors and hair characteristics failed to be associated with device efficacy.

Conclusions: The DigniCap System was well tolerated and found to be effective in preventing alopecia in early breast cancer patients. Our study failed to identify factors other than type of chemotherapy regimen associated with hair preservation.

Keywords: breast cancer; chemotherapy-induced alopecia; nursing; oncology; scalp cooling.