Radiation-induced lung injury

Mark V. Hendricks, W. Chris Sheils, W. Bruce Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Radiation is an effective therapeutic option for malignant disease. Dosing techniques have been refined to the point that radiation therapy is usually safe and well tolerated. Unfortunately, damaging effects to normal lung inside the radiation field are unavoidable, leading to the clinical syndromes 'radiation pneumonitis' and 'radiation fibrosis.' Onset of disease occurs 6 weeks to 6 months after radiation and includes symptoms of dyspnea, cough, chest pain, and fever. Treatment of severe cases may require corticosteroids. A chest radiograph initially shows an alveolar infiltrate inside the radiation field that later develops the typical appearance of fibrotic changes that can mimic tumor or infection. The pathogenesis involves free radical formation that directly damages cells and DNA. In addition, a diffuse inflammatory response characterized by increased lymphocytes followed by a cascade of cytokines and growth factors directs the fibrotic process. This is also seen in the contralateral untreated lung. Increased understanding of these mechanisms will suggest new strategies for improving the efficacy of radiation therapy while limiting toxic side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Pulmonary Medicine
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

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Lung Injury
Radiation
Radiation Pneumonitis
Radiotherapy
Lung
Poisons
Chest Pain
Cough
Dyspnea
DNA Damage
Free Radicals
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Fever
Thorax
Lymphocytes
Cytokines
Therapeutics
Infection
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Radiation
  • Radiation pneumonitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Cite this

Radiation-induced lung injury. / Hendricks, Mark V.; Sheils, W. Chris; Davis, W. Bruce.

In: Clinical Pulmonary Medicine, Vol. 6, No. 5, 01.01.1999, p. 287-295.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Hendricks, Mark V. ; Sheils, W. Chris ; Davis, W. Bruce. / Radiation-induced lung injury. In: Clinical Pulmonary Medicine. 1999 ; Vol. 6, No. 5. pp. 287-295.
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