Association between alopecia and response to chemotherapy in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma

Avishay Elis, Dorit Blickstein, Yosef Manor, Michael Lishner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alopecia and bone marrow suppression are prominent effects of doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy. The aim of the study was to validate our preliminary clinical observation that the lack of alopecia in Hodgkin lymphoma patients may predict poor response to chemotherapy and low rate of bone marrow suppression. Sixty-six patients with Hodgkin lymphoma were reviewed. They were treated between 1991 and 2001 with at least 4 courses of doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy (MOPP/ABV or ABVD) in 2 university-affiliated hematology departments. Thirty-four patients exhibited complete or near complete alopecia, and 32 retained their hair or had only minimal hair loss. The 2 groups were compared by response to treatment and episodes of bone marrow suppression. Alopecia was associated with a high rate of remission (OR 8.48, 95% CI 2.77-25.95), episodes of neutropenia (OR 3.55, 95% CI 1.28-9.84), leukopenia (OR 1.83, 95% CI 0.68-4.92), delays in scheduled treatments (OR 1.61, 95% CI 0.607-4.30), or number of courses with dose reduction (OR 1.63, 95% CI 0.56-4.74). Significantly more patients with alopecia had at least 1 of these parameters (88% versus 62%, P = 0.015; OR 4.50, 95% CI 1.27-15.94). In conclusion, in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma treated with doxorubicin- containing chemotherapy, the absence of alopecia may predict poor response to treatment along with fewer episodes of bone marrow suppression. The absence of alopecia in such patients should alert clinicians to the possibility of treatment failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-289
Number of pages3
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Alopecia
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Response to doxorubicin


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