Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

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

Esophagitis, Chemotherapy Induced

  • Mário Ferraz de OliveiraEmail author
  • Maria José Brito
Reference work entry


Chemotherapy effect in esophagus


Esophagitis is a common side effect of chemotherapy and different degrees of mucosal toxicity depend on the number of drugs used, their dosage, and length of treatment and the presence of concomitant radiotherapy.

Many chemotherapeutic drugs damage directly the esophageal mucosa, in a similar way to other parts of gastrointestinal tract, acting primarily on mitotically active cells, leading to cell death, inflammation, and ulceration. The chemotherapeutic agents reported are dactinomycin, bleomycin, cytarabine, daunorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, and vincristine.

Clinical Features

Patients with chemotherapy esophagitis suffer from chest pain and discomfort. Symptoms are similar with different chemotherapeutic agents, and there is a synergistic effect with the frequent combination with radiation therapy, with more severe symptoms due to more severe damage.


In acute phase, the macroscopic examination reveals friable...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Montgomery, E., & Lacobuzio-Donahue, C. (2012). Gastrointestinal and liver pathology (2nd ed., pp. 29–31). Philadelphia: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  2. Noffsinger, A. E. (2009). Update on esophagitis-controversial and underdiagnosed causes. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, 133, 1087–1095.Google Scholar
  3. Sonis, S. T., Elting, L. S., Keefe, D., et al. (2004 May 1). Perspectives on cancer therapy-induced mucosal injury: Pathogenesis, measurement, epidemiology, and consequences for patients. Cancer, 100(9 Suppl), 1995–2025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mário Ferraz de Oliveira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria José Brito
    • 2
  1. 1.Serviço Anatomia PatológicaCentro Hospitalar Lisboa Central EPELisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Serviço Anatomia PatológicaHospital Garcia de OrtaAlmadaPortugal