Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is one of the major pathological conditions that still remains elusive in the field of clinical oncology and oncotherapeutics. In addition, very little is known about the mechanisms that promote the permanent hair loss occurring in cancer patients after treatment with chemotherapy.
We have established a new ex vivo model for permanent chemo-therapy induced alopecia, for the screening of therapeutics that could prevent both acute, and permanent chemotherapy-induced alopecia. With this assay, we have also revealed that hair follicle stem cell apoptosis and/or mesenchymal transition is most likely involved in permanent hair loss after chemotherapy. Our assay uses either the treatment with 4-hydroperoxy cyclophosphamide, a metabolite of cyclophosphamide, or taxanes (paclitaxel, docetaxel).
Our novel ex vivo model is an excellent preclinical research tool to explore human follicle responses involved in acute and/or permanent chemo-induced alopecia. In addition, it acts as a great platform for identification of new molecular targets for chemotherapy and in developing innovative strategies to manage chemotherapy-induced hair loss and human epithelial cell toxicity.