Excessive pigmentation of the skin, due to increased melanin production. This increase in pigmentation can be caused by several factors and diseases, including exposure to ultraviolet radiation and some disorders of the adrenal glands.
In oncology, hyperpigmentation can arise as a side effect of chemotherapy. Among the main chemotherapeutic agents that cause hyperpigmentation are:

  • Melphalan;
  • Cyclophosphamide;
  • Fluorouracil;
  • Doxorubicin;
  • Bleomycin;
  • Dactinomycin.

In these cases, hyperpigmentation may appear in about two to three weeks after starting treatment and usually disappears between 10 and 12 weeks after chemotherapy ends.
Hyperpigmentation can also be a result of radiation therapy. Among the patients most affected by this side effect are those undergoing treatment in the following regions:

  • Central nervous system;
  • Head and neck;
  • Mama;
  • Perineal region.

Hyperpigmentation caused by radiation therapy usually appears towards the end of treatment and may take a few months to completely disappear.

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This content is part of the Oncoclínicas glossary with all terms related to Oncology and its treatments.
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