Factors affecting hair re-growth after bone marrow transplantation

Department of Haematology/Oncology, Prince of Wales Children's Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
Bone Marrow Transplantation (Impact Factor: 3.57). 10/1993; 12(4):347-50.
Source: PubMed


Permanent alopecia after BMT has been reported as a side-effect associated with GVHD or after busulphan conditioning therapy, primarily in adults. We have reviewed children undergoing BMT to document the frequency of incomplete hair regrowth and to evaluate factors associated with this problem. Hair regrowth was studied in 74 children who survived > 6 months following BMT undertaken for malignant and non-malignant diseases. Alopecia was categorised as severe (< 50% of pre-transplant status), moderate (50-75%) or mild (> 75% but less than normal). Overall, 18 (24.3%) of 74 patients had mild (n = 5), moderate (n = 4) or severe (n = 9) alopecia. Risk factors for alopecia were presence of chronic GVHD (67%; p < 0.001), older age (p < 0.001) and prior cranial irradiation (42%; p = 0.03). Alopecia occurred in children receiving either busulphan (31%) or total body irradiation (16%; p = 0.15) as conditioning therapy. The highest frequency was seen in patients conditioned with busulphan with or without melphalan and who received prior cranial irradiation and/or developed chronic GVHD (75%). These data indicate that alopecia after BMT in children is a significant problem and confirm, in children, the previously noted association between alopecia and chronic GVHD and busulphan. Further risk factors of older age and prior cranial irradiation are identified. Consideration needs to be given to the use of an alternative to busulphan in children who are of older age, have received prior cranial irradiation and/or are at increased risk of GVHD.

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    • "Hair can become brittle and alopecia can ensue. The association between alopecia and chronic GVHD has been well-documented in children (Locatelli et al, 1993; Vowels et al, 1993). Premature greying of the hair is common, even in children. "
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