Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Chemotherapy causes patients to loose their fingerprints

Must read

3D Printing Takes the Place of Traditional Clay Modeling in Forensic Facial Reconstruction

3D printing is now proving extremely useful in the field of forensic facial reconstruction, a method of identifying skeletal remains. The process consists of...

Fingerprints: Analysis and Understanding

The unique composition of the skin on the inner hands and bottom of the feet affords not only a utilitarian benefit in providing friction...

Bill to have all Russians fingerprinted and DNA profiled submitted to parliament

MPs from the populist nationalist party LDPR have prepared and drafted a motion requiring universal fingerprinting and DNA profiling of all Russian citizens for...

Thai police: Suspect’s prints match those on bomb material

Thai police said Wednesday that the fingerprints of a foreign man arrested at Thailand's border with Cambodia match those found on a bottle containing...
Michael Whyte
Crime Scene Officer and Fingerprint Expert with over 12 years experience in Crime Scene Investigation and Latent Print Analysis. The opinions or assertions contained on this site are the private views of the author and are not to be construed as those of any professional organisation or policing body.
- Forensic Podcast -

A 65-year-old breast cancer patient in Mexico has lost her fingerprints, perhaps permanently. The woman was diagnosed with “hand-foot syndrome” caused by her chemotherapy treatments after being denied a bank transaction that needed her fingerprints.

The patient is in the most advanced stage of breast cancer, and the disease has spread to her lungs. She had been undergoing chemo treatments for three months, causing her to develop hand-foot syndrome (HFS), according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“The hand-foot syndrome is a side effect of certain chemotherapeutic agents that is characterized by redness, swelling, and pain on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet,” the study said.

After the patient’s first chemo cycle, she developed grade 1 of HFS, meaning skin changes or dermatitis without pain. It was successfully treated with topical agents. But her skin symptoms became worse after her third chemo cycle and began interfering with everyday tasks, meaning she had advanced to grade 3 of HFS. At that point, doctors reduced some of the cancer treatments because the tumors in her lungs had shrunk.

After chemo, the woman’s fingerprints were unrecognizable (Dr. Yanin Chavarri-Guerra and Dr. Enrique Soto-Perez-de-Celis)

“The patient had no further acute toxic effects, but the fingerprints of her thumb (Panel B) and fingers (Panel C) were erased,” the study’s authors, Dr. Yanin Chavarri-Guerra and Dr. Enrique Soto-Perez-de-Celis of the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion in Mexico City, wrote.

HFS itself is a common adverse reaction to certain chemo drugs ‒ in this case, a combination of capecitabine and bevacizumab ‒ according to a 2012 study published in the Oncologist medical journal. HFS may occur within days or as long as one year after initiation of therapy, and it usually resolves spontaneously within a week or two after treatment ends. Its symptoms are usually not permanent.

(Oncologist/Dr. Mahmoud S. Al-Ahwal)

The National Cancer Institute classifies HFS ‒ also called palmar–plantar erythrodysesthesia ‒ into three grades to describe its severity, with the third grade being “ulcerative dermatitis or skin changes with accompanying pain interfering with activities of daily living.”

Loss of fingerprints is a rare complication of HFS, Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay.

“Skin sloughing and peeling with associated swelling is not so uncommon, but the occurrence to the extent that fingerprints may disappear is extremely unusual,” she said. “Usually the symptoms [of hand-foot syndrome, such as skin peeling] are reversible but apparently that was not the case with this patient.”

The Mexican woman is not the first to experience the loss of fingerprints. The 2012 Oncologist study focused on a 53-year-old man with stage IV rectal cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs. After his second and third cycles of chemo, he developed HFS. By his fifth and sixth chemo cycles, the HFS had moved into grade 3.

Grade 3 hand–foot syndrome with shedding of the skin of both palms (Oncologist/Dr. Mahmoud S. Al-Ahwal)
Grade 3 hand–foot syndrome with shedding of the skin of both palms (Oncologist/Dr. Mahmoud S. Al-Ahwal)

“During this interval, he was unable to process required governmental documents on several occasions because of a lack of fingerprints. This frustrating and exhausting travel and administrative burden was imposed on an already severely deteriorated quality of life,” wrote the study’s author, Dr. Mahmoud S. Al-Ahwal, dean of Faculty of Medicine at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Ahwal and Bernik each warned oncologists and other health care practitioners to be aware of loss of fingerprints as a result of chemo treatments.

“[The study’s authors] believe clinicians should pay more attention to this possible outcome that can add additional stress in the lives of patients whose quality of life is already severely compromised,” Al-Ahwal wrote.

“Health care workers and patients need to be aware of this possible rare result of chemotherapy, especially in an age where use of fingerprints for identification is increasing,” Bernik told HealthDay.

In Mexico, Chavarri-Guerra and Soto-Perez-de-Celis provided the breast cancer patient with a letter to her bank “explaining that the chemotherapy was responsible for her lack of fingerprints,” they wrote.

Source: RT

- Advertisement -

More articles

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Trees and shrubs might reveal the location of decomposing bodies

Plants could help investigators find dead bodies. Botanists believe the sudden flush of nutrients into the soil from decomposition may affect nearby foliage. If...

Are Detectives discounting the associative value of fingerprints that fall short of an identification in their investigations?

Every day, Fingerprint Experts in every latent office across the globe examine fingermarks that they determine to fall short of an identification....

Using the NCIC Bayesian Network to improve your AFIS searches

This National Crime Information Centre (NCIC) Bayesian network is based on the statistical data of general patterns of fingerprints on the hands...

DNA decontamination of fingerprint brushes

Using fingerprint brushes across multiple crime scenes yields a high risk of DNA cross-contamination. Thankfully an Australian study has discovered a quick and easy way to safely decontaminate fingerprint brushes to prevent this contamination risk and allows the brushes to be safely reused even after multiple cleaning cycles.

Detection of latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape by optical coherence tomography

Adhesive tape is a common item which can be encountered in criminal cases involving rape, murder, kidnapping and explosives. It is often the case...