Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

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

Radiation Therapy Injury, Upper Gastrointestinal Tract

  • Wen-Yih LiangEmail author
  • Gregory Y. Lauwers
Reference work entry


Radiation therapy injury represents the sum of injuries to the gastric mucosa caused by ionizing radiation. This type of iatrogenic injury is associated with either external beam therapy or brachytherapy utilized as part of the treatment of various cancers (e.g., esophagus, lung, liver) or as part of induction therapy of future bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients.

No definite minimal dosage is associated with a diagnosis of radiation injury, but symptoms start to occur at doses in the range of 40–50 Gy. Major complications tend to develop with increasing dosage. Gastric ulcers occur in approximately 15% of patients who received a cumulative dose of 50 Gy and gastric perforation in 6% of patients who accumulated 40–50 Gy, 10% of those irradiated to 50–60 Gy, and 38% of a small cohort of patients irradiated to over 60 Gy.

Clinical Features

The patients usually complain of nausea shortly after the delivery of the radiation. The symptoms are generally transient and will...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. Chon, Y. E., Seong, J., Kim, B. K., Cha, J., Kim, S. U., Park, J. Y., Ahn, S. H., Han, K. H., Chon, C. Y., Shin, S. K., & do Kim, Y. (2011). Gastroduodenal complications after concurrent chemoradiation therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: Endoscopic findings and risk factors. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, 81(5), 1343–1351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Coia, L. R., Myerson, R. J., & Tepper, J. E. (1995). Late effects of radiation therapy on the gastrointestinal tract. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, 31(5), 1213–1236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fajardo, L. F. (2005). The pathology of ionizing radiation as defined by morphologic patterns. Acta Oncologica, 44(1), 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ogawa, F., Mino-Kenudson, M., Shimizu, M., Ligato, S., & Lauwers, G. Y. (2008). Gastroduodenitis associated with yttrium 90-microsphere selective internal radiation: An iatrogenic complication in need of recognition. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 132(11), 1734–1738.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyTaipei Veterans General HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of PathologyMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA