Bizarre Cancer Drug Side Effect: Fingerprints Disappear

A 65-year-old breast cancer patient ran into an unexpected problem with her bank: She was denied a transaction because her fingerprints had disappeared.

Reporting in the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors in Mexico said the woman’s unusual case was due to the effects of chemotherapy for an advanced breast cancer that had spread to the lungs.

A chemotherapy side effect called “hand-foot syndrome” appears to be tied to the fingerprint loss, wrote Drs. Yanin Chavarri-Guerra and Enrique Soto-Perez-de-Celis, of the Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition in Mexico City.

They described the syndrome as “characterized by redness, swelling, and pain on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.”