Radiation-induced carotid artery lesions

Fernández-Alvarez, V., López, F., Suárez, C., Strojan, P., Eisbruch, A., Silver, C. E., Mendenhall, W. M., Langendijk, J. A., Rinaldo, A., Lee, A. W. M., Beitler, J. J., Smee, R., Alvarez, J. & Ferlito, A., Aug-2018, In : Strahlentherapie und onkologie. 194, 8, p. 699-710 12 p.

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  • Verónica Fernández-Alvarez
  • Fernando López
  • Carlos Suárez
  • Primoz Strojan
  • Avraham Eisbruch
  • Carl E Silver
  • William M Mendenhall
  • Johannes A Langendijk
  • Alessandra Rinaldo
  • Anne W M Lee
  • Jonathan J Beitler
  • Robert Smee
  • Javier Alvarez
  • Alfio Ferlito

PURPOSE: To review the current aspects of knowledge related to the risk of cerebrovascular events in patients receiving head and neck radiotherapy.

METHODS: A literature search was performed in PubMed. Papers meeting selection criteria were reviewed.

RESULTS: We provide an update on the problem by identifying key studies that have contributed to our current understanding of the epidemiology, radiologic features, pathogenesis, and treatment of the disease. The incidence of carotid artery stenosis ranged from 18 to 38% in patients who underwent radiotherapy for head and neck cancer versus from 0 to 9.2% among the nonirradiated patients. Neck irradiation increases the intima-media thickness of the carotid artery wall. These changes are the earliest visible alteration in the carotid wall and are also detected with color Doppler ultrasonography. Endovascular treatment with a carotid angioplasty and stenting is the first-line treatment for most symptomatic patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Radiation-induced atherosclerosis is a different and accelerated form of atherosclerosis, which implies a more aggressive disease with a different biologic behavior. The disease is characterized by a high rate of carotid artery stenosis compared to those observed in nonirradiated control group patients. To prevent the risk of stroke, surveillance and imaging with ultrasonography should enable detection of severe stenosis. Endovascular treatment with a carotid angioplasty and stenting has been proposed as an attractive and minimally invasive alternative for some radiation-induced stenoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-710
Number of pages12
JournalStrahlentherapie und onkologie
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2018

ID: 58090423