The effect of gastric fundus radiation dose on postoperative anastomotic leakage in esophageal cancer

Yulia Kundel*, Noga Kurman, Omri Sulimani, Shlomo Gavrielli, Yuval Nachalon, Assaf Moore, Hanoch Kashtan, Eyal Fenig, Baruch Brenner, Aron Popovtzer, Elisha Fredman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Standard-of-care treatment for locally advanced esophageal carcinoma (LAEC) includes neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by esophagectomy. A potentially catastrophic surgical complication is the development of a postoperative anastomotic leak. To date, the association with radiation dose exposure had been inconclusive. We examined the correlation between radiation exposure to the gastric fundus and risk of postoperative leakage using contemporary radiation doses and fractionation. Methods: A total of 69 consecutive patients with LAEC who underwent neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by esophagectomy in our tertiary center were prospectively followed (median, 27 months). Neoadjuvant regimen included 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions with 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin and 41.4 Gy in 23 fractions with carboplatin and paclitaxel. The gastric fundus was contoured and dosimetric and radiation technique parameters were retrospectively evaluated. Results: Of the total number of patients, 71% and 29% had esophageal and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) tumors, respectively. Fourteen patients (20.3%) experienced anastomotic leaks within a median of 2 days postoperatively, 78.6% of whom had lower third esophagus or GEJ primaries. Mean and minimum fundus dose did not significantly differ between those with and those without leakage (p = 0.42, p = 0.51). Mean fundus V25, V30, and V35 doses were numerically but not statistically higher in those with anastomotic leak (p = 0.58, p = 0.39, and p = 0.30, respectively). No correlation with incidence of leakage was seen between 3D and IMRT treatment modalities. Conclusions: In our comparatively large prospectively collected series of patients treated for LAEC, radiation dose to the gastric fundus during neoadjuvant combination therapy prior to surgery did not correlate with the risk of postoperative anastomotic leak.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1080089
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - 2023


  • esophageal cancer
  • esophagectomy
  • gastric fundus
  • leakage
  • postoperative
  • radiation dose


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