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21-07-2017 | Non-small-cell lung cancer | News | Article

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Hair repigmentation points to NSCLC immunotherapy response

medwireNews: Spanish researchers who observed hair repigmentation among patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who responded to immunotherapeutic drugs against programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1) believe that the side effect could serve as a potential marker of response.

The team from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona describes 14 such cases in JAMA Dermatology, noting that 13 patients had either a partial response or stable disease following anti-PD-1 (nivolumab or pembrolizumab) or anti-PD-L1 (atezolizumab) treatment, with just one patient progressing after 4 cycles.

In all but one patient, a diffuse darkening of the hair was seen, generally originating at the occipital and temporal areas and moving onto the frontal and parietal regions. The remaining patient developed black patches between their still visible white hairs. All participants recovered their original hair color.

Noting that melanoma patients receiving anti-PD-1 agents are likely to “develop vitiligo involving their hair,” Noelia Rivera and co-investigators say that hair repigmentation could be “a marker of clinical response” in the lung cancer setting.

By Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2017 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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