Radiation proctitis: a review

Am J Gastroenterol. 1996 Jul;91(7):1309-11.


Radiation therapy of cancers in the pelvic region may lead to radiation proctitis. Radiation injury to the rectal wall eventually causes connective tissue fibrosis and obliterative endarteritis with subsequent local tissue ischemia. Patients with radiation proctitis may be minimally ill and heal spontaneously. However, symptoms of proctitis may persist, and the disease progresses to chronic bleeding and/or stricture and fistula formation. Medical therapy is often unsuccessful, and surgery is eventually required. Because of numerous postoperative complications and no guarantee of success, surgery should only be done as a last resort.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / complications
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Proctitis / diagnosis*
  • Proctitis / etiology
  • Proctitis / therapy
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / therapy
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects