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Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2012 Feb;7(1):31-5.

Esophagitis, treatment-related toxicity in non-small cell lung cancer.

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Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Department of Radiation Oncology, 111 South 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.



Radiation esophagitis represents a significant complication experienced by non-small cell cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving thoracic irradiation. The objective of the current review was to assess the clinical and dosimetrical parameters that may predict radiation esophagitis.


Studies were identified by searching PubMed electronic databases. Both prospective and retrospective studies were included. Information regarding clinical and dosimetrical parameters predicting for radiation-induced esophagitis was extracted and analyzed.


The esophageal clinical and dosimetric parameters that best predict acute esophagitis remain unclear. In many reports, Vx (the volume of esophagus receiving x Gy) stands out, with values of x ranging from 20-70 Gy. Other studies conclude that the maximal dose received by any point of the esophagus is the best predictor of esophagitis. Another metric implicated with esophageal toxicity in some reports is the proportion of the esophageal circumference or surface area that receives high doses of radiation.


Technological advancements in patient immobilization, setup verification, and radiotherapy delivery are increasingly being employed to limit the toxicity of thoracic irradiation. Future efforts are required to determine how these complex techniques should best be implemented to minimize the risks of acute and long-term esophageal injury.

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