Recent advances in the management of radiation colitis.

World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG
Jannis Kountouras, Christos Zavos


Radiation colitis, an insidious, progressive disease of increasing frequency, develops 6 mo to 5 years after regional radiotherapy for malignancy, owing to the deleterious effects of the latter on the colon and the small intestine. When dealing with radiation colitis and its complications, the most conservative modality should be employed because the areas of intestinal injury do not tend to heal. Acute radiation colitis is mostly self-limited, and usually, only supportive management is required. Chronic radiation colitis, a poorly predictable progressive disease, is considered as a precancerous lesion; radiation-associated malignancy has a tendency to be diagnosed at an advanced stage and to bear a dismal prognosis. Therefore, management of chronic radiation colitis remains a major challenge owing to the progressive evolution of the disease, including development of fibrosis, endarteritis, edema, fragility, perforation, partial obstruction, and cancer. Patients are commonly managed conservatively. Surgical intervention is difficult to perform because of the extension of fibrosis and alterations in the gut and mesentery, and should be reserved for intestinal obstruction, perforation, fistulas, and severe bleeding. Owing to the ...Continue Reading


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