Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

2017 Edition
| Editors: Fátima Carneiro, Paula Chaves, Arzu Ensari

Radiation-Induced Esophagitis

  • Ricardo FonsecaEmail author
  • Paula Chaves
Reference work entry


Radiation therapy for thoracic malignancies is often complicated by radiation-induced esophagitis.

Radiation esophagitis corresponds to esophageal damage secondary to radiation or chemotherapy.

Gastrointestinal toxicity occurring after radiation therapy can occur early on, after the treatment being acute, or later, months, or even years after radiotherapy.

Acute radiation esophagitis is primarily due to effects on the basal epithelial layer. This causes a thinning of the mucosa, which can progress to denudation.

Incidence and Location

It is not infrequent as a result of the high incidence of pulmonary and mediastinal neoplasms. A radiation dose of 5,000 cGy or more to the mediastinum may cause severe injury to the esophagus. Acute radiation-induced esophagitis usually occurs 2–4 weeks after the initiation of radiation therapy. The technique used for radiotherapy administration, the radiation dose to the esophagus, and the use of concurrent chemotherapy all influence the...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Iacobuzio-Donahue, C. A., & Montgomery, E. A. (2005). Gastrointestinal and liver pathology. Philadelphia: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  2. Levine, M. S. M.D., & Rubesin, S. E. M.D. (2005). Diseases of the esophagus: Diagnosis with esophagography. Radiology, 237, 414–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Noffsinger, A., Fenoglio-Preiser, C., Maru, D., & Glinsky, N. (2007). Atlas of non tumour pathology – Gastrointestinal diseases. Washington, DC: American Registry of Pathology.Google Scholar
  4. Perez, R. A., & Early, D. S. (2002). Endoscopy in patients receiving radiation therapy to the thorax. Digestive Diseases and Science, 47(1), 79–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Serviço de Anatomia PatológicaInstituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco GentilLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Serviço de Anatomia PatológicaInstituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa de Francisco GentilLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Faculdade de Ciências da SaúdeUniversidade da Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal