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Location and shape of the esophagus depending on body characteristics for retrospective radiation dose estimation

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • S. Lamart
  • A.A. Romanyukha
  • L.M. Morton
  • R.E. Curtis
  • S.L. Simon
  • C. Lee


Epidemiologic studies of the risk of cancer following radiotherapy treatments require reconstruction of radiation doses to specific organs. The location of the organ relative to the radiation field is a strong determinant of the dose and will depend on the individual anatomy. While the actual anatomy of patients treated years in the past is rarely known, information on body size may be available from records. We studied the location and shape of the esophagus, an organ at risk from chest irradiation, and related the collected data to patient size. We measured the esophagus length and position on Computed Tomography images of 30 female and 30 male patients. We found in males that the anterior depth of the esophagus increases from the cervical to the lower esophagus, 5 to 14 cm, while the posterior depth remains nearly constant, about 10 to 13 cm. The position of the esophagus progressively increases towards the left below the T3 vertebra, but not more than 2.5 cm. Measurements were similar for women, though smaller, and increased with increasing body mass index for both genders. Quantitative measurements of the human anatomy for groups of patients are rare, making these data a unique resource of anatomical variations.

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